Lead Exposure and School Performance
Childhood lead exposure has been associated with deficits in IQ in children from around the world. Lead exposure has also been associated decreases in school performance in children in Detroit and North Carolina. We are investigating the association between by blood lead levels of Chicago Public School Children and their performance on the 3rd grade Illinois Standard Achievement Test.
We examined 47,168 children born in Chicago between 1994 and 1998 who were tested for blood lead between birth and 2006 and enrolled in the 3rd grade at a Chicago Public School between 2003 and 2006. We linked the Chicago birth registry, the Chicago Blood Lead Registry, and 3rd grade ISAT scores to examine associations between blood lead levels and school performance. The preliminary results from this study, presented by Dr. Anne Evens in her doctoral dissertation, showed that lead exposure, even at blood lead levels below 10 μ/dl were associated with decreases in reading in math ISAT scores after adjusting for known confounders. Further analyses of these data are currently underway.