The role of occupational lead exposure in the genesis of psychiatric and behavioral disturbances

Authors

  • E. L. Baker,

    Corresponding author
      Edward L. Baker, M. D., M.P.H. Assistant Professor of Occupational Medicine Harvard School of Public Health 665 Huntington Ave. Boston, MA 02115, U.S.A.
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  • R. G. Feldman,

    Corresponding author
      Robert G. Feldrnan, M.D. Department of Neurology Boston University Medical Center 80 E. Concord St., Boston MA 02118, U.S.A.
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  • R. F. White,

    Corresponding author
      Roberta G. white, Ph.D. Department of Neurology Boston University Medical Center 80 E. Concord St. Boston, MA 02118, U.S.A.
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  • J. P. Harley

    Corresponding author
      J. Preston Harley, M.D. Department of Neuropsychology Braintree Hospital, Braintree MA 02184, U.S.A.
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Edward L. Baker, M. D., M.P.H. Assistant Professor of Occupational Medicine Harvard School of Public Health 665 Huntington Ave. Boston, MA 02115, U.S.A.

Robert G. Feldrnan, M.D. Department of Neurology Boston University Medical Center 80 E. Concord St., Boston MA 02118, U.S.A.

Roberta G. white, Ph.D. Department of Neurology Boston University Medical Center 80 E. Concord St. Boston, MA 02118, U.S.A.

J. Preston Harley, M.D. Department of Neuropsychology Braintree Hospital, Braintree MA 02184, U.S.A.

Abstract

In a prospective study of lead neurotoxicity, exposed foundry workers and referents were evaluated using a comprehensive set of neurobehavioral tests. Other performance indexes were used including a questionnaire, physical examination, and nerve conduction testing. Results show increased rates of depression, confusion, anger, fatigue and tension among workers with blood levels over 40 mcg/dl. Other aspects of neurobehavioral function, including verbal concept formation, memory, and visual/motor performance were also impaired. In view of the large number of individuals exposed to lead in their work, specific inquiries should be made of individuals with affectual complaints to clarify the nature of their work and workplace exposure to lead.

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