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New Study Shows Half of US Adults Exposed to Dangerous Lead Levels as Children

By Thomas P. Giuffra

In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, they estimated that half the U.S. adult population in 2015 had been exposed to lead levels surpassing five micrograms per deciliter — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention threshold for harmful lead exposure at the time.  That’s more than 170 million people who have been exposed to the dangers of lead!

Details of the Study

Scientists from the University of Florida and Duke University found that 90% of children had blood lead levels higher than what is acceptable between 1950 and 1981.

This new study demonstrates that lead poisoning is an ongoing problem and is not only related to lead paint issues.  Lead exposure is a serious national health issue and researchers found a significant impact on cognitive development: on average, early childhood exposure to lead resulted in a 2.6-point drop in IQ.

Study lead author Michael McFarland, an associate professor of sociology at Florida State University, said the findings were “infuriating” because it was long known that lead exposure was harmful, based on anecdotal evidence of lead’s health impacts throughout history.

Lead Exposure Persists as a Public Health Danger

Though the U.S. has implemented tougher regulations to protect Americans from lead poisoning in recent decades, the public health impacts of exposure could last for several decades, experts told the Associated Press.

“Childhood lead exposure is not just here and now. It’s going to impact your lifelong health,” said Abheet Solomon, a senior program manager at the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Early childhood lead exposure is known to have many impacts on cognitive development, but it also increases the risk for developing hypertension and heart disease, experts said.

“I think the connection to IQ is larger than we thought and it’s startlingly large,” said Ted Schwaba, a researcher at the University of Texas-Austin who studies personality psychology and was not part of the new study.

Have You Been Affected by Lead Poisoning?

Our expert lead paint lawyers aggressively fight for compensation for those who have been harmed by lead paint and pursue compensation on behalf of our clients. If you have been injured due to exposure, contact our firm today for a free consultation to determine if you may be eligible to receive compensation.

Picture of Thomas P. Giuffra, Partner

Thomas P. Giuffra, Partner

Thomas specializes in the litigation and trial of significant civil sexual assault, medical malpractice, personal injury, mass tort, and product liability actions. His innovative approach has led to 20 verdicts and numerous settlements in excess of one million dollars on behalf of his clients, including a recent landmark verdict for $58 Million. He has been recognized as "outstanding in the field of advocacy" nationally and internationally.

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