People exposed to lead in childhood face poor mental health as adults
A new study has found that some people exposed to a certain toxic metal as children may face poor mental health as adults.
This finding may have far-reaching implications for all populations exposed to this risk factor.
Lead is a type of metal that people throughout the world have used in the construction of water pipes, added into paint to prevent corrosion, and put into gasoline to maintain engine durability.
However, over the years, researchers have concluded that lead is toxic and can be extremely dangerous.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “there is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe.” In time, ingested lead particles tend to accumulate in a person’s bones, brain, and other organs, increasing the risk of health problems, including high blood pressure, and damage to the kidneys.
Lead that accumulates in the body can also disrupt the central nervous system, and some studies have linked lead exposure during childhood with behavioral and intelligence deficits.
Now, new research from Duke University in Durham, NC, also suggests that exposure to lead during childhood can affect how an individual’s personality develops and predispose them to mental health problems in adulthood.
The research findings, which appear in JAMA Psychiatry, indicate that people who had high levels of lead in their blood when they were young are more likely to experience mental health issues by the time they turn 38. The study also indicates that they are also more likely to have developed unhealthy personality traits, such as neuroticism.
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