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Lead's legacy

Childhood exposure can affect the brain

By
7:26pm, May 27, 2008

The effects of lead weigh heavy on the minds of people exposed to the metal during childhood. Two new studies of adults who lived in lead-contaminated housing as kids find that higher lead levels in the blood during childhood are associated with smaller brains and with an increased risk for violent criminal behavior.

“Lead has special status as a risk factor because we can prevent it,” comments David C. Bellinger, an epidemiologist at HarvardMedicalSchool in Boston and an expert in environmental and public health. Bellinger, who was not involved in the research, wrote a commentary on the studies that appears with the new research in the May 27 PLoS Medicine. “There are a lot of

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