Lead and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Environmental lead remains an important public health concern worldwide despite successful reductions in its presence in recent decades. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common, impairing, and poorly understood condition with associated cognitive and emotional features, occurring in about 3%-6% of children worldwide. Although ADHD is influenced by genetic liability, it also has environmental influences that likely emerge via genotype by environment interplay and may involve epigenetic effects, although this remains controversial. Lead is among these known influences. This association holds even at the relatively lower exposure levels now common in developed countries, clarifying why reduced lead levels have not correlated with reduced incidence of ADHD. Recent studies suggest effect is causal and not an artifact of unmeasured confounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Environmental Health
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780444639523
ISBN (Print)9780444639516
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • ADD
  • ADHD
  • Blood lead
  • Brain imaging
  • Contaminants
  • Effect size
  • Gene by environment
  • Gene effects
  • Hyperactivity
  • Inattention
  • Neurobiology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Toxins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)


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