Author(s): Winneke G, Hrdina KG, Brockhaus A
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Abstract In contrast to blood-lead (PbB), tooth-lead concentrations (PbT) provide retrospective information about longterm, cumulative childhood lead-intake. From a basic sample of 458 school age children from the city of Duisburg (FRG), whose lead-concentrations in shed incisor teeth had been measured (means = 4.6 ppm; range: 1.4-12.7 ppm), two extreme-groups of 26 children each (mean age: 8.5 years) with low (means = 2.4 ppm) and elevated (means = 9.2 ppm) PbT were selected. After pair-matching both groups for age, sex, and father's occupational status, these children were tested under double-blind precautions for intellectual performance (German WISC), for perceptual-motor integration (Göttinger Formreproduktionstest = GFT, Diagnostikum für Cerebralschädigung = DCS, Benton-Test), and for gross motor-coordination (Körper-Koordinationstest für Kinder = KTK). Significant (P less than 0.05) inferiority of the lead-children was found in two tests of perceptual-motor integration (increased GFT-errors; lower success rate for DCS). In addition a near significant (P less than 0.1) reduction of 5-7 IQ-points was determined in these children. Although this pilot study has provided some evidence for an association between childhood lead-exposure and neuropsychological impairment, this association cannot yet be considered proven, because the observed effects were discrete and statistically confirmed only in part, and because there was a slight prevalence of perinatal risk factors in the lead group. Further research to clarify the issue is necessary.
This article was published in Int Arch Occup Environ Health
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology