Lead exposure and the cognitive development of urban preschool children: the Cincinnati Lead Study cohort at age 4 years

Neurotoxicol Teratol. Mar-Apr 1991;13(2):203-11. doi: 10.1016/0892-0362(91)90012-l.


The purpose of this analysis was to determine if significant associations could be observed between prenatal/postnatal blood lead (PbB) levels and the cognitive development of 258 urban, inner-city children at 4 years of age. These children have been followed since birth with frequent assessments of general health, PbB, and neuropsychological status. The Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (K-ABC) was administered at approximately 4 years of age. Higher neonatal PbB levels were associated with poorer performance on all K-ABC subscales. However, this inverse association was limited to children from the poorest families. Maternal PbB levels were unrelated to 4-year cognitive status. Few statistically significant associations between postnatal PbB levels and K-ABC scales could be found. However, the results did suggest a weak inverse relationship between postnatal PbB levels and performance on a K-ABC subscale which assesses visual-spatial and visual-motor integration skills. In these results we note both contradiction and accord with previously published prospective studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Developmental Disabilities / chemically induced*
  • Developmental Disabilities / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lead Poisoning / blood
  • Lead Poisoning / epidemiology
  • Lead Poisoning / psychology*
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Ohio / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy