Correlation of blood lead level and intelligence quotient in children

Main Article Content

Lilian Gunawan
Nurhayati Masloman


Background Lead poisoning is a source of health problems in
humans. A chronic complication oflead poisoning in children is
permanent intellectual impairment.
Objective To assess for a correlation of blood lead levels and
intelligence quotient (IQ) in children.
Methods A cross-sectional study was performed in children aged
6 to 8 years in th e Talawaan (a rural area) and Wenang (an urban
area) Distticts, North Sulawesi, from April to July 2012. Blood lead
levels were measured using the graphite furnace atomic absorption
spectrometry technique; and intelligence was meas ured with the
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Indonesian version.
Results There were 50 subjects from the Talawaan District and 54
subjects from the Wenang Disttict in this study. The mean blood
lead level in the Talawaan District subjects was significantly higher
than that of the Wenang Disttict subjects [25.8 (SD 16.98) μgidL
vs 11.4 (SD 13.81) μgidL, respectively; (P<0.001)]. There was a
weak negative correlation between blood lead level and IQ in the
Talawaan Disttict children (P= 0.038; r= -0.3). As such, there was
a 0.05 IQ point decrement associated with each increase of 1 μ gidL
in blood lead level in Talawaan District children. However, there
was no correlation between blood lead level and IQ in the Wenang
Disttict children (P=0.42; r =0.03).
Conclusion There is a weak negative correlation between blood
lead level and IQ in children living in a rural area, howevei; this
correlation is not found in children living in an urban area.

Article Details

How to Cite
Gunawan L, Masloman N. Correlation of blood lead level and intelligence quotient in children. PI [Internet]. 30Jun.2014 [cited 20Sep.2019];54(3):127-1. Available from:
Received 2016-08-31
Accepted 2016-08-31
Published 2014-06-30


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