Iron deficiency (ID) is the most common micronutrient deficiency in the world, with consequences of ID and ID anemia (IDA) in young children including behavioral and cognitive deficits. In turn, lead exposure is one of the most common environmental toxicants affecting children. Elevated blood lead levels (BLLs) in young children are also associated with behavioral and cognitive deficits. The metabolic and physiological connections between iron and lead, including a common route of entry into the body and similar neural targets, suggest a considerable overlap in their effects on functional outcomes. Very few studies have examined the existence of increased susceptibility to lead neurotoxicity in children with ID, but there is evidence that ID and BLL are independently associated with cognition and behavior. Children's susceptibility to both ID and elevated BLLs will likely depend on the timing and severity of both exposures, something that should be investigated systematically.

Keyword(s): behaviorchildcognitioninteractionsironlead

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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