Science & Tech

Environmental health researcher studies lead poisoning in India

1 min read

More than 100 million people in India affected

Lead is a naturally occurring toxic element, and exposure poses a serious threat to children whose neurological systems are still developing. Some children suffer from brain damage, poor motor skills coordination, and damaged kidneys. But the disease is easily preventable by limiting exposure to the toxic substance. More than 100 million people in India battle the debilitating effects of lead poisoning, according to a recent study, though the harmful results of exposure are preventable. Howard Hu, associate professor of occupational medicine at the School of Public Health, will measure the lead levels in the discarded baby teeth of 300 elementary school-aged children in India and correlate the levels to the children’s performances on standardized tests. Hu is interested in identifying a link between lead exposure and compromised intellectual abilities. “This is the kind of study that would simultaneously bolster environmental health research in India and perhaps affect public policy,” said Hu.