Health Effects

How can lead affect your body?

Lead affects the body in many ways. It is important to know that even exposure to low levels of lead can severely harm children.

findings from the Cincinnati Lead Study

How lead affects the body

Health Effects- How Lead Affects the Body.pdf

Biologist Michael Skinner breakthrough research

The Toxins That Affected Your Great-Grandparents Could Be In Your Genes _ Innovation _ Smithsonian.pdf


Lead exposures increase risk of not completing high school and have significant negative effects even with minimal lead exposure on statewide exam scores (Needleman 2004; Miranda et al. 2007).

Lead poisoning is strongly associated with development of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a lifelong disorder with increased risk of conduct disorder, antisocial behavior, criminal activity, and drug abuse (Braun et al. 2006; Costello et al. 2003).

A recent study of over 120,000 children in Rhode Island from 1990-2004 found a strong connection between lead exposure and likelihood of school suspension and juvenile detention (Aizer et al.).

The impact of lead disproportionately falls on minority communities and is the poster child for environmental racism. Lead poisoning is the No. 1 preventable environmental threat to children.


Lead exposure at an early age is associated with high rates of arrest in young adults, particularly for violent crimes, as well as antisocial and destructive behavior (Wright et al. 2008; Canfield et al. 2004; Denno 1990; Froehlich et al. 2007; Surkan and Zhang 2007). Behavior patterns tend to worsen with age, increasing social and emotional dysfunction and delinquency (Bellinger et al. 1994; Needleman et al. 1996; Needleman et al. 2002).

Lead has and continues to stunt the development of many communities, causing stunting of the development of our City as a whole. If we want to make Memphis a safer and more livable city, ending lead poisoning should be on the top of our priority list.