Lead Exposure In Childhood May Affect Personality Later In Life

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‘Early childhood exposure to lead may contribute to less mature and less healthy personalities – lower levels of conscientiousness, agreeableness, and higher levels of neuroticism in adulthood. As these traits are key to healthy adulthood, it’s incredibly important to limit lead exposure among the vulnerable population.’


The study involved more than 1.5 million people in 269 U.S. counties and 37 European nations who were asked to respond to an online personality questionnaire. It was found that less adaptive personalities in adulthood were commonly found in those who grew up in areas with higher levels of atmospheric lead.

The difficulties in personalities included lower levels of conscientiousness, agreeableness and higher levels of neuroticism among the adults in their 20s and 30s. These three traits of a psychologically healthy personality are strong predictors of our success or failure in life.

The results were further verified through the effects of the 1970 Clean Air Act and their study in Europe.

“For a long time, we’ve known lead exposure is harmful, but each new wave of research seems to identify new ways in which lead exposure harms society. Though there’s much less lead in the atmosphere today, lead remains in pipes, the topsoil and groundwater. And these sources of lead exposure tend to disproportionately harm people of color — Black children are twice as likely to have high levels of lead in their blood as white children. From an economic standpoint, from a social justice standpoint, or really any way you look at it, it’s incredibly important to limit lead exposure as much as possible,” says Schwaba.

Source: Medindia



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