Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Association between Elevated Blood Lead Levels and Reading Readiness in Kindergarten Children
by McLaine, Patricia Louise, Dr.P.H., The Johns Hopkins University, 2010, 166; 3579521
Abstract (Summary)

Background and Objective: Lead exposure effects on IQ are well known, and detrimental impact of lead exposure on reading, math and school progress have been described. We evaluated the relationship between blood lead levels (BLLs) and kindergarten reading readiness in a diverse urban school population.

Methods: School administrative data and Phonological Awareness and Literacy Screening Kindergarten (PALS-K) test scores, measures of kindergarten reading readiness, for children attending public school kindergarten in Providence, Rhode Island were linked to Department of Health BLLs. Children with at least one BLL and reading readiness scores in both the fall and spring were included in the study (N=3,406). Fifty-nine percent (59%) were Hispanic. Data were analyzed using multiple linear and logistic regression with progressive levels of adjustment.

Results: The median geometric mean (GM) BLL was 4.2 (IQR 2.9-6.0)μg/dL. In the fall, children whose BLLs were 5-9 and ≥10μg/dL were 1.44 and 2.51 times more likely to fail to achieve fall benchmark for reading readiness [OR 1.44 (95%CI 1.23, 1.69) and OR 2.51 (95%CI 1.86, 3.40)] compared to children whose BLLs were 0-4μg/dL. Fall reading readiness scores were decreased by 4.5 and 10 points for children with BLLs in the 5-9 and 10+μg/dL categories, respectively, compared to children with BLLs 0-4μg/dL [-4.5 points (95%CI -6.2, -2.9) and -10.1 points (95%CI -13.3, -7.0)]. In the spring, children who had scored below the fall benchmark and who had GM BLLs ≥5μg/dL were approximately 1.5 times more likely to fail to achieve the benchmark compared to children with BLLs <5μg/dL. For children who achieved the fall benchmark, BLLs were not associated with an increased risk of failure in the spring.

Conclusions: Children who enter kindergarten with low levels of reading readiness and GM BLLs of >5μg/dL are at increased risk for failure to make adequate progress.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Agnew, Jacqueline, Diener-West, Marie
School: The Johns Hopkins University
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-B 75/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Literacy, Reading instruction, Public health, Environmental science
Keywords: Blood lead level, Childhood lead registry, Childhood poisoning, Kindergarten reading readiness, Kindergarten testing, Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS)
Publication Number: 3579521
ISBN: 978-1-303-77095-1
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