Residence in an Area with Environmental Exposure to Heavy Metals and Neurobehavioral Performance in Children 9-11 Years Old: An Explorative Study


We explored the association between residence in an area polluted with metals and neurobehavioral performance in children aged 9 to 11. A cross-sectional study was conducted with thirty boys and thirty girls aged 9 to 11 from public schools in a heavily industrialized area, matched by age (±4 months) and gender with 15 boys and 15 girls from public schools in cities without relevant industrial activity. Neurobehavioral performance was assessed with the Behavioral Assessment and Research System. Linear regression models were used, adjusting for age, sex, social class and multimedia activities to predict each of the neurobehavioral outcome variables. No differences in neurobehavioral performance were found when all children with residence in areas with environmental exposure to metals were classified as exposed and the children from the other provinces as unexposed. However, when we compared children living <1 km from an industrial area with respect to those living more than 1 km away, significant differences were found. Children living <1 km away had lower scores on Finger Tapping (p = 0.03), Symbol-Digit (p = 0.07) and Continuous Performance (p = 0.02) than those living farther away. Our results support the hypothesis that residing close to an area with industrial activity (<1 km) is associated with deficits in neurobehavioral performance among children aged 9 to 11.

Authors: Rocío Capelo, Diane S Rohlman, Rocío Jara, Tamara García, Jesús Viñas, José A Lorca, Manuel Contreras Llanes, Juan Alguacil
; Full Source: International journal of environmental research and public health 2022 Apr 14;19(8):4732. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19084732.