Lead toxicity and genetics in Flint, MI


It has been well established that lead poisoning, as defined by the CDC as blood lead levels (BLLs) at or above 5 μg/dl, can lead to long-term neurotoxic effects in children and requires immediate treatment.1,2 As such, the CDC has long recommended clinicians’ assess to all patients for lead exposure and test BLLs for all at-risk patients.1 Furthermore, it is increasingly recognised that there is no safe level of lead for children due to the irreversible lifelong detrimental effects of lead exposure.2,3 Since the disaster of lead contaminated drinking water in Flint, MI has been uncovered, action has been taken to test children for lead poisoning. However, when children are tested and results show that lead levels are below the 5 μg/dl criteria no further follow-up is conducted with these children, as they are deemed ‘healthy’. This practice is problematic, given that other studies have shown that blood lead levels, even at rates lower than the poison range can be detrimental to a child's health.3–5 The estimated population of Flint is ~99,002, with about 27% of the residents categorised as children under the age of 18 years.6 Therefore, more than ~26,730 children, of whom 60% are African Americans (N = 16,038), have been exposed to environmental lead in the drinking water.

DOI: 10.1038/npjgenmed.2016.18

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@inproceedings{Taylor2016LeadTA, title={Lead toxicity and genetics in Flint, MI}, author={Jacquelyn Taylor and Michelle L. Wright and David Housman}, booktitle={npj Genomic Medicine}, year={2016} }