Low school test scores linked to racial segregation and lead exposure in North Carolina

Birth data, blood lead levels and fourth grade end-of-grade test scores for more than 25,000 children living in North Carolina show how childhood lead exposure and neighborhood racial residential segregation affect early childhood educational outcomes. Identifying the mix of social, environmental and economic factors that create health disparities early could lead to earlier intervention in vulnerable communities, thus narrowing the ‘achievement gap’ that becomes apparent in early childhood and persists or widens with time.

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