Childhood lead poisoning is also known as or subsumes Lead encephalopathy and Plumbism. -ed.
Childhood lead poisoning is a growing concern, particularly because new findings have shown that low-level, typical-population lead exposures are associated with the development of cognitive and behavioral deficits. In response to these findings, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set the lead level greater than 5 µg/dl as the minimum value for intervention. The mechanisms of action of lead depend on the time of exposure and the degree of CNS maturation. Early-life lead exposure may lead to disease susceptibility throughout the life course. In this article, the authors discuss lead as an environmental risk factor, its effects on health, and its management. They also discuss new trends in research describing how lead leads to epigenetic alterations that may underlie many of the behavioral phenotypes observed in patients exposed to even minimal amounts of lead.