Port Pirie Cohort Study

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Port Pirie Cohort Study2016-12-13T11:57:18+00:00

Port Pirie Cohort Study 

Port Pirie Cohort Study image from New Medical Terms

Port Pirie 2012


The Port Pirie Cohort Study was a longitudinal study centred around the lead-smelting community of Port Pirie, South Australia, which evaluated the long-term impact of the delayed neuropsychological development due to increased lead exposure in early childhood.

After controlling for variables–e.g., socioeconomic status, maternal IQ, parents’ level of education, feeding method, duration of breast feeding, etc, the IQ was 4-5 % lower at age 7-8 for blood lead concentrations ≥ 1.45 µmol/L–30 µg/dl than for levels ≤ 0.48 µmol/L–10 µg/dl.

Sadly, as of 2012 (20 years after the report in the New England Journal of Medicine), the poisoning of children continues (above, aerial photo of Port Pirie). Multiple dust-wipes collected daily from surfaces at four Port Pirie playgrounds returned average lead values of 3286 µg/m2, compared to 18.9 µg/m2 at a control playground at Port Augusta, 85 kilometres to the north. 

References NEJM 1992; 327:1279oa


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