Balance ability in 7- and 10-year-old children: associations with prenatal lead and cadmium exposure and with blood lead levels in children in a prospective birth cohort study

Caroline Taylor, Rachel Humphriss, Amanda Hall, Jean Golding, Alan Emond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
182 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Objectives: Most studies reporting evidence of adverse effects of lead and cadmium on the ability to balance have been conducted in high-exposure groups or have included adults. The effects of prenatal exposure have not been well studied, nor have the effects in children been directly studied. The aim of the study was to identify the associations of lead (in utero and in childhood) and cadmium (in utero) exposure with the ability to balance in children aged 7 and 10 years.Design: Prospective birth cohort study.Participants: Maternal blood lead (n=4285) and cadmium (n=4286) levels were measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry in women enrolled in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) during pregnancy. Child lead levels were measured in a subsample of 582 of ALSPAC children at age 30 months.Main outcome measures: Children completed a heel-to-toe walking test at 7 years. At 10 years, the children underwent clinical tests of static and dynamic balance. Statistical analysis using SPSS V.19 included logistic regression modelling, comparing categories of ≥5 vs <5 µg/dL for lead, and ≥1 vs <1 µg/L for cadmium.Results: Balance at age 7 years was not associated with elevated in utero lead or cadmium exposure (adjusted OR for balance dysfunction: Pb 1.01 (95% CI 0.95 to 1.01), n=1732; Cd 0.95 (0.77 to 1.20), n=1734), or with elevated child blood lead level at age 30 months (adjusted OR 0.98 (0.92 to 1.05), n=354). Similarly, neither measures of static nor dynamic balance at age 10 years were associated with in utero lead or cadmium exposure, or child lead level.Conclusions: These findings do not provide any evidence of an association of prenatal exposure to lead or cadmium, or lead levels in childhood, on balance ability in children. Confirmation in other cohorts is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere009635
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Volume5
Issue number12
Early online date30 Dec 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2015

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