Prenatal lead and tobacco leads to attention deficit disorder?

Lead and tobacco exposure in children leads to increased risk of attention-deficit disorder?

Researchers at the Cincinnati College of Medicine published a recent study in the journal, Pediatrics, which suggests that both prenatal exposure to lead and tobacco smoke lead to an increased risk of attention-deficit disorder in children.  In fact, exposure to both dramatically increased the risk of ADHD.

Results of their study:

  • Prenatal tobacco exposure (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 2.4 [95% CI: 1.5-3.7]) and higher current blood lead concentrations (aOR for third versus first tertile: 2.3 [95% CI: 1.5-3.8]) were independently associated with ADHD.
  • Compared with children with neither exposure, children with both exposures (prenatal tobacco exposure and third-tertile lead levels) had an even greater risk of ADHD (aOR: 8.1 [95% CI: 3.5-18.7]) than would be expected if the independent risks were multiplied (tobacco-lead exposure interaction term, P < .001).

The study authors concluded that reduction in exposure to both lead and tobacco smoke may be an important avenue to prevent ADHD.


Froehlich TE, Lanphear BP, Auinger P, Hornung R, Epstein JN, Braun J, Kahn RS.  Association of tobacco and lead exposures with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.  Pediatrics. 2009 Dec;124(6):e1054-63. Epub 2009 Nov 23.


One thought on “Prenatal lead and tobacco leads to attention deficit disorder?

  1. Claire November 20, 2010 / 5:28 am

    With the prevalent use of lead on industrial products, and today’s rising pollution situation, it seems that ADHD is going to be a rising incidence and an unavoidable disorder.

    There will also be a rising appeal for a close to nature living. And children will be safer when boarded at wilderness schools

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