A Call to Action!
Childhood lead poisoning remains a critical environmental health concern in Connecticut. Childhood lead exposure has been linked to a number of adverse cognitive outcomes, including reduced performance on standardized intelligence quotient tests, decreased performance on cognitive functioning tests, adverse neuropsychological outcomes, neurobehavioral deficits, decreased end-of-grade test scores and classroom attention deficit behaviors.
In response to these health concerns, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and the State Department of Public Health (DPH) engaged researchers at Duke University’s Children’s Environmental Health Initiative to conduct an analysis of the effects of early childhood lead exposure on test performance among Connecticut schoolchildren. Results from this study include the following:
- early childhood lead exposure negatively affected Connecticut Mastery Test scores in both reading and mathematics;
- disparate exposures by race suggest that exposure to lead may account for part of the achievement gap among Connecticut schoolchildren; and
- negative associations were statistically significant at blood lead levels well below the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s blood lead action level of 10µg/dl.
The importance of these results prompted the CSDE’s development of the Education Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Lead Poisoning in Children to inform the practice within school districts in:
- lead prevention;
- early identification of students exposed and affected by lead; and
- educational programming in response to lead exposure in order to mitigate existing or potential deficits.
The Education Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Lead Poisoning in Children
is available on the CSDE’s Health Promotion Services/School Nurse Web site
For more information on the CSDE’s Education Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Lead Poisoning in Children contact:
Stephanie G. Knutson, M.S.N., R.N.,
School Health Consultant and Project Manager
Connecticut State Department of Education
Bureau of Health/Nutrition, Family Services and Adult Education
450 Columbus Blvd., Suite 504
Hartford, CT 06103