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Trends in preschool lead exposure, mental retardation, and scholastic achievement: association or causation?

Listed author(s):
  • Nevin, Rick

This study shows that 1936-1990 preschool blood lead trends explain 65% of the 1948-2001 variation in USA mental retardation (MR) prevalence, 45% of the 1953-2003 variation in the average Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) verbal score, and 65% of the 1953-2003 variation in the average SAT math score. These temporal relationships are characterized by best-fit time lags (highest R2 and t-value for blood lead) consistent with lead-induced cognitive damage in the first year of life: A 12-year lag for school-age MR, and a 17-year lag for SAT scores. Recent shifts in age-specific MR prevalence are consistent with recent trends in preschool blood lead. SAT and MR trends by race are consistent with racial differences in how 1960s slum clearance affected childhood exposure to severe lead paint hazards. SAT trends by Hispanic origin are consistent with an especially sharp fall in preschool blood lead in New York City since 1970.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 35339.

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Date of creation: 11 Nov 2008
Publication status: Published in Environmental Research 3.109(2009): pp. 301-315
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:35339
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Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

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  1. Nevin, Rick & Jacobs, David / E. & Berg, Michael & Cohen, Jonathan, 2007. "Monetary benefits of preventing childhood lead poisoning with lead-safe window replacement," MPRA Paper 35340, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Nevin, Rick, 2007. "Understanding international crime trends: The legacy of preschool lead exposure," MPRA Paper 35338, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Nevin, Rick & Jacobs, David / E., 2006. "Windows of opportunity: lead poisoning prevention, housing affordability, and energy conservation," MPRA Paper 35342, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Nevin, Rick, 1999. "How lead exposure relates to temporal changes in IQ, violent crime, and unwed pregnancy," MPRA Paper 35324, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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