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Children's blood lead levels linked to lower test scores
Date:10/19/2009

ram, accounts for 25 percent to 28 percent of EOG declines.

And parental education accounts for the largest portion of the drop in test scores, between 58 percent and 65 percent of the total.

"This demonstrates the particular vulnerabilities of socioeconomically and environmentally disadvantaged children," said Miranda, an associate professor at the Nicholas School and Duke Medical School's department of pediatrics. "Children who experience these cumulative deficits are especially disadvantaged when they enter the school system."

The team's analysis showed that children already at the low end of the test-score curve were more greatly affected by lead exposure the greater the exposure, the greater the impact on their scores. However, downward shifts were also documented in exposed children at the high end of the EOG curve. This is important, the study noted, because EOG scores are used to place students into advanced and intellectually gifted (AIG) programs at schools across the United States.

"Our findings show that even low-level lead exposure can push some children out of the score range that would make them eligible for these special programs," Miranda said. "To the extent that low-income and minority children are systematically exposed to more lead, AIG programs become less economically and racially diverse."


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Contact: Tim Lucas
tdlucas@duke.edu
919-613-8084
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert

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