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Apr 17, 2017 12:11 PM EDT

Lower IQ Linked to Lead Exposure in Childhood, Duke University Study Reveals [Video]

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Poor paying jobs in adults can be attributed to lead exposure during childhood
Study reveals that too much lead exposure can lead to lower IQ and poorer paying jobs.
(Photo : Getty Images/Jes Aznar )

A new study suggests that adults who had high levels of lead exposure during their childhood years may have lower IQs. They may also land poor paying jobs as adults and suffer health consequences.

A long term study published in the American Medical Association reveals that more than 500 children who had high lead exposure when they were growing up in a time of leaded gasoline had suffered from loss of intelligence and occupational standing by the time they reached the age 38. This is because of the chemical called neurotoxin, Science Daily reported.

The researchers from Duke University followed 565 participants in New Zealand. These people, according to Time Magazine, were born between 1972 and 1973, and had their blood lead levels measured when they were still 11 years old. And then, another follow up blood tests came a decade later, when these adults have already reached 38.

What the study has found was that early exposure to lead during childhood is associated with lower IQ during adulthood, and that is 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. They said that for every5-microgram increase in blood lead, a person lost about 1.5 IQ points.

 The scientists also found that children who were reported to have high lead measures at age 11 ended with lower levels of socio economic status when compared to their peers who had zero or lower blood lead levels.

Aaron Reuben, a Duke psychology graduate student who is first author on the study said that the downward social mobility reflects the trend in IQ. He also added that the effects of lead exposure are long lasting, specifically the cognitive effects which can and had persisted for many years, which are evident on the types of jobs that people got.

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