Blood lead levels and growth status of children

B. B. Little, L. M. Snell, W. L. Johnston, K. A. Knoll, P. H. Buschang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Several studies have shown that elevated blood lead (Pb) levels in children are associated with decreased growth. Among 139 children aged 1 to 10 years (66 male, 73 female) who attended a Pb clinic in Dallas, Texas, growth was decreased by 1.6 cm in height, 1.4 kg in weight, and 0.6 cm in head circumference for each 10 μg/dl increase in blood Pb. Consistent with previously reported effects of Pb, several clinical symptoms (hearing deficit, dental problems, hyperactivity) were increased in frequency among children with high blood Pb levels (X̄Pb = 34.6 μg/dl ± 5.6) compared to the children in the low Pb level group (X̄Pb = 11.9 μg/dl ± 3.3). Interestingly, pica was significantly increased in frequency among children in the high Pb group, indicating oral consumption of non‐food matter was a major source of Pb intoxication. These results suggest that increased Pb level is an important risk factor for growth deficits in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-269
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Genetics


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