Dean Guilarte speaks with Science News on lead-tainted water & its effects on children


FIU Stempel College’s Dean Tomás R. Guilarte

Writer Meghan Rosen of Science News reached out to FIU Stempel College’s Dean Tomás R. Guilarte regarding the Flint, Michigan water crisis and lead toxicity in children. Here is an excerpt of that article:

Scientists have linked chronic lead exposure to lowered IQ, shortened attention spans, antisocial behavior and having less gray matter — the nerve cell bodies that makes up much of the brain.

“We know now that no amount of lead is good for children,” says neurotoxicologist Tomas Guilarte of Florida International University in Miami and Columbia University.

He and others have spent years puzzling out what lead does to the brain. It’s a grim picture. Chronic exposure can kill nerve cells, and make it hard for new ones to survive and talk to each other. The mark lead leaves on the brain might even show up when people age.

“I think in the next 15 to 20 years,” Guilarte says, “if people look closely, they’ll find that many of these lead-exposed children are going to have mental issues.”


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