D.C. lead exposure details still unclear

Jan. 31, 2009 at 2:29 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The number of children affected by an increase years ago in the lead levels of water supplies in the District of Columbia is still unknown, U.S. scientists say.

A new study of the District of Columbia water crisis that took place between 2001 and 2004 was unable to accurately pinpoint the number of likely victims, with estimations ranging from 700 to tens of thousands, The Washington Post said Saturday.

"We suspect that there are thousands, and possibly tens of thousands, of children who have experienced harm as a result of increased lead exposure," lead-poisoning expert Bruce P. Lanphear of Canada's Simon Fraser University said of the Washington crisis.

Epidemiologist Dana Best of the Children's National Medical Center said such lead exposure could potentially result in the loss of up to four intelligence quotient points in children.

Children could also be at greater risk for behavioral problems if they were exposed, the Post reported.

The study published in the journal, Environmental Science & Technology, focused on more than 28,000 blood-lead tests taken in Washington between 1999 and 2007.

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