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Exposed To Lead In Infancy, Now Flint’s Youngest Students Face Challenges In School

Five years ago, during the water crisis, the kids currently in Flint’s kindergarten and elementary classrooms were babies and toddlers, the population most vulnerable to lead exposure. Some may have spent their infancy drinking formula mixed with lead-tainted tap water, month after month.

Even low levels of childhood lead exposure have been linked to decreases in IQ. Elevated lead levels in the blood may raise the risk for ADHD and developmental delays. Numerous studies say it can also increase aggression and reduce impulse control, and according to the CDC, some researchers have found a “direct association between BLLs [blood lead levels] and poorer performance on tasks requiring focused attention, cognitive flexibility, and inhibition of automatic response.”

Flint’s superintendent, Derrick Lopez, says that’s what’s happening in these schools.