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Blood Lead Concentration Tied to Child Behavioral Problems

Last Updated: July 07, 2014.

 

Findings seen in prospective study at four Chinese preschools

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Higher blood lead concentrations are associated with increased risk of behavioral problems among Chinese preschoolers, according to a study published online June 30 in JAMA Pediatrics.

MONDAY, July 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Higher blood lead concentrations are associated with increased risk of behavioral problems among Chinese preschoolers, according to a study published online June 30 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Jianghong Liu, Ph.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study to examine the correlation between blood lead concentrations and behavioral problems. Participants included 1,341 children aged 3 to 5 years from four preschools in Jintan, Jiangsu province of China. Behavioral problems were assessed when the children were aged 6 years.

The researchers found that the mean blood lead concentration was 6.4 µg/dL. Blood lead concentrations were significantly associated with scores for teacher-reported behavioral problems. With adjustment for parental and child variables, teacher-reported behavioral scores on emotional reactivity, anxiety problems, and pervasive developmental problems increased by 0.322, 0.253, and 0.303, respectively, with each 1-µg/dL increase in blood lead concentrations (P < 0.05). Particularly for older girls, mean teacher-reported behavior scores increased with blood lead concentrations in spline modeling.

"Continued monitoring of blood lead concentrations, as well as clinical assessments of mental behavior during regular pediatric visits, may be warranted," the authors write.

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