The Brain

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Glossary

Up The Brain The Skeleton Other Systems

Lead Disrupts Brain Development

Between the ages of 6 months and 2 years, the brain experiences an explosion of synaptic connections.  Then it undergoes a pruning process so that the connections that are to remain can grow robust without interference, much as a tree is pruned to increase the yield of fruit.  Lead disrupts these processes. 

The lead-poisoned brain is like a bramble bush in which the main branches are leggy but weak and the off-shoots are tangled.

 

 

The Consequences

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Blood lead levels previously considered acceptable (below 10 mg/dL) are now known to cause the loss of an average of 7 IQ points; as exposure increases to 20 mg/dL another 4 points are lost.  Loss of IQ will significantly reduce the lifetime earnings of poisoned children. 

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Youth who were severely lead poisoned as babies are 7 times more likely to drop out of high school and nearly 6 times more likely to have a reading disability.

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Many lead poisoned children suffer poor impulse control and aggressiveness.  Between 11% and 37% of arrested juvenile delinquents are attributable directly to the lead poisoning they suffered as babies.

Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning 

Committed to ending childhood lead poisoning in Monroe County by 2010

For more information, contact:  pbrantingham@leadsafeby2010.org