Sir.—The letter "Childhood Lead Poisoning" of McCabe (Journal 1983;137: 305) contains important errors of fact and interpretation about the work of my colleagues and me and the issue of low-level lead intoxication in general. McCabe cites the work of my group,1 and then states that we found "impairment [in lead-exposed subjects] of psychologic function when compared with controls." He then goes on to assert that while we attempted to control for "various socioeconomic variables, such as family income and parental education and intelligence," our study was not designed (to allow) for analysis of "early child care characteristics." McCabe then attempts to argue that these unspecified "early child care characteristics" are related to lead exposure and developmental outcome. Lead, by this syllogism, is reduced to the status of a marker for inferior child care, rather than a demonstrated neurotoxin.
McCabe has misread the study by my colleagues and me.1
NEEDLEMAN HL. Childhood Lead Poisoning. Am J Dis Child. 1983;137(10):1025. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1983.02140360085029