Lead exposure triples likelihood of school suspension
Children who are exposed to lead are nearly three times more likely to be suspended from elementary school than children who have not suffered such exposure. Research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that kids exposed to lead are more likely to exhibit behavioral problems by the fourth grade.
This study looked at the medical data of nearly 4,000 children exposed to lead, along with fourth grade disciplinary records in the Milwaukee school district. The researchers learned that children who had been exposed to lead were significantly more likely to be suspended than other children, even after controlling for income, race and gender. African-American children are more than twice as likely to have elevated lead levels.
Animal research has shown that lead exposure causes decreased attention and less control over behavior when subjects are startled or touched. The researchers reasoned that if humans experience similar effects, they could be disruptive in classrooms and end up being suspended.