Article: Lead Connected to Lower Test Scores

Reginald Cureton, now 12, was lead poisoned at age one. A new article profiles his family’s struggles with lead, and the fight of various agencies against lead’s negative effects on children.
Photo credit: Brian Widdis for Education Week

According to research cited in a recent Education Week article by Jaclyn Zubrzycki, “Students [in Detroit] with an early-childhood blood lead level of 10 milligrams per deciliter of blood… were more than twice as likely to score less than proficient on all three subjects in the state assessment” (the Michigan Assessment of Educational Progress).  Furthermore, research the article cites “found widespread lead poisoning in [Detroit Public Schools], including some schools where 54 percent of the population had elevated blood lead levels.”

While the studies in the article monitored children who were legally poisoned by current standards, the  “CDC last spring lowered the level of lead considered dangerous from 10 milligrams of lead per deciliter of blood to 5, responding to years of research showing detrimental impacts from lower levels of exposure,” according to the article.  This is particularly disconcerting, considering Zubrzycki writes that “the average blood lead level of Detroit students in the study was 7 milligrams per deciliter.”

The article ties together some of the primary entities fighting the negative effects lead has on children in Detroit, which the article calls  “one of the epicenters for lead in the country.”  CLEARCorps/Detroit combats lead and other healthy homes issues through our Healthy Homes and Lead Safe Homes Program grants, as well as through policy work, enforcement of current laws, and referrals to partner organizations.

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