Elevated lead levels from e-waste exposure are linked to sensory integration difficulties in preschool children

Haoxing Cai, Xijin Xu, Yu Zhang, Xiaowei Cong, Xueling Lu, Xia Huo*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

    OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

    24 Citaten (Scopus)


    Exposure to lead is associated with adverse effects on neurodevelopment. However, studies of the effects of lead on sensory integration are few. The purpose of this research is to investigate the effect of lead exposure on child sensory integration by correlating the blood lead levels of children with sensory processing measures. A total of 574 children, from 3 to 6 years of age, 358 from an electronic waste (e-waste) recycling town named Guiyu, and 216 from Haojiang, a nearby town with no e-waste recycling activity, were recruited in this study. The median blood lead level in Guiyu children was 4.88 mu g/dL, higher than the 3.47 mu g/dL blood lead level in Haojiang children (P <0.001). 47.2% of Guiyu children had blood lead levels exceeding 5 mu g/dL. The median concentration of serum cortisol, an HPA-axis biomarker, in Guiyu children was significantly lower than in Haojiang, and was negatively correlated with blood lead levels. All subscale scores and the total score of the Sensory Processing Measure (Hong Kong Chinese version, SPM-HKC) in Guiyu children were higher than Haojiang children, indicating greater difficulties, especially for touch, body awareness, balance and motion, and total sensory systems. Sensory processing scores were positively correlated with blood lead, except for touch, which was negatively correlated with serum cortisol levels. Simultaneously, all subscale scores and the total SPM-HKC scores for children with high blood lead levels (blood lead > 5 mu g/dL) were higher than those in the low blood lead level group (blood lead <5 mu g/dL), especially for hearing, touch, body awareness, balance and motion, and total sensory systems. Our findings suggest that lead exposure in e-waste recycling areas may result in a decrease in serum cortisol levels and an increase in child sensory integration difficulties. Cortisol may be involved in touch-related sensory integration difficulties.

    Originele taal-2English
    Pagina's (van-tot)150-158
    Aantal pagina's9
    StatusPublished - mrt-2019

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