The lingering cost of lead poisoning was the subject of a recent summit at Harvard University, which included comments from Amherst College Economics Professor Jessica Wolpaw Reyes (a Harvard alum), excerpted in the Harvard Gazette.
While lead exposure hurts everyone, she said, it has the greatest impact on disadvantaged communities.
“Reyes said one microgram of lead per deciliter of blood has the same effect on aggression, MCAS scores, and other social measures as $5,000 of family income, and an increase of 10 mcg/dl blood doubles the likelihood of teen pregnancy. All of these issues, she said, disproportionately affect the communities with the least compensatory resources,” the Harvard Gazette reported.
“You are losing leaders in these communities and gaining people who will need help and will have trouble contributing and interacting with others,” she said.