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October 23, 1972

Children With an Increased Lead BurdenA Screening and Follow-up Study

JAMA. 1972;222(4):462-466. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03210040034009

In a house-to-house survey of an impoverished section of Boston, preschool children were studied in regard to lead poisoning with the use of a simple and inexpensive screening procedure based upon the analysis of lead in hair. Ninety-eight of 705 children screened in this fashion were found to have an increased lead burden. Chelation therapy was administered and environmental elimination of exposure to leadcontaining substances was initiated. Fifty-eight children with an increased lead burden underwent comprehensive study and 1 1/2 years later reexamination took place: minor neurological dysfunction and various forms of motor impairment were observed in 22% to 27% of the children during each evaluation. Initial psychological assessment revealed low average mental abilities in the majority of children and 1 1/2 years later a significant increase in certain areas of intellectual functioning was noted.