BREAKING NEWS: Report – Children exposed to lead or mercury 3 to 5 times more likely to have ADHD symptoms
Children exposed to higher levels of mercury or lead are three to five times more likely to be identified by teachers as having problems associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, according to a scientific study published today.
The study, of Inuit children living in Arctic Canada, is the first to find a high rate of attention-deficit symptoms in children highly exposed to mercury in the womb. In addition, the Inuit children more often had hyperactivity symptoms if they were exposed to the same low levels of lead commonly found in young U.S. children.
Laval University scientist Gina Muckle said the findings are important because they show for the first time that the effects of mercury in children are not just subtle, but are actually noticeable to teachers. They “may be clinically significant and may interfere with learning and performance in the classroom,” the study says. For lead, the school teachers reported much more frequent ADHD symptoms at levels far below the CDC’s newly developed health guideline.
Dr. Bruce Lanphear, of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, said evidence is mounting that toxic compounds are “shifting children’s behavior…There seem to be a whole host of different toxicants that are associated with ADHD.” One of the most intriguing findings was that mercury was linked to attention deficits while lead was associated with hyperactivity. The difference may be the timing of the exposures: in the womb for mercury and during childhood for lead. The findings “suggest the brain may be sensitive to different environmental chemicals at different times in development,” said Harvard epidemiologist Joe Braun.One of the most intriguing findings was that mercury was linked to attention deficits while lead was associated with hyperactivity. The difference may be the timing of the exposures: in the womb for mercury and during childhood for leadMercury and lead exposures had a stronger effect on ADHD symptoms than mothers who smoked during pregnancy.
More than 38,000 Frisco young people and children live within the area where a study showed that more than 300,000 pounds of lead had been deposited during the past 50 years over much of Frisco.