Impact of lead poisoning on school academic performance in children

To assess impact of lead poisoning on school academic performance in children.One hundred thirty children of both genders were enrolled. 5 ml of venous blood was collected and the level of blood lead was determined using atomic absorption spectrometry and micro sample flame atomization.



The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)19, the Development and Well-being Assessment (DAWBA)20, and the
Anti-social Behaviour Interview (ASBI)21 were used to evaluate the behaviour of children and attention was evaluated using the Test of Everyday Attention for Children (TEACh). The outcomes of tests were used to determine the children’s educational performance.
Results: Out of 130 children, 60 (46.1%) were male and 70 (53.9%) were female. Lead level between 0-2 μg/dl was seen in 26, 2-5 μg/dl in 58, 5-10 μg/dl in 37 and >10 μg/dl in 9 children. The difference was significant (P< 0.05). The SATs results started to decline above 5 mg/dl, but the two behavioural outcomes (hyperactivity and anti-social conduct) did not start to significantly decline until above 10 mg/dl.Writing SATS scores decreased by 0.2 points as a result of the effect of increasing exposure from 5 to 10 mg/dl. It was linked to a 0.3-point increase in the teacher-reported hyperactivity scores.

Conclusion: Even when blood lead levels are as low as 5-10 mg/dl, early childhood exposure to lead has a significant impact on future educational achievement and behavior. Therefore, it is recommended that the threshold for concern be reduced to 5 mg/dl.

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Dr. Gururaja R