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Blood lead levels in children and environmental lead contamination in Miami inner city, Florida

, : Blood lead levels in children and environmental lead contamination in Miami inner city, Florida. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 3(3): 228-234

Studies have shown that the environmental conditions of the home are important predictors of health, especially in low-income communities. Understanding the relationship between the environment and health is crucial in the management of certain diseases. One health outcome related to the home environment among urban, minority, and low-income children is childhood lead poisoning. The most common sources of lead exposure for children are lead paint in older, dilapidated housing and contaminated dust and soil produced by accumulated residue of leaded gasoline. Blood lead levels (BLL) as low as 10 microg/dL in children are associated with impaired cognitive function, behavior difficulties, and reduced intelligence. Recently, it is suggested that the standard for intervention be lowered to BLL of 5 microg/dl. The objectives of our report were to assess the prevalence of lead poisoning among children under six years of age and to quantify and test the correlations between BLL in children and lead exposure levels in their environment. This cross-sectional analysis was restricted to 75 children under six years of age who lived in 6 zip code areas of inner city Miami. These locations exhibited unacceptably high levels of lead dust and soil in areas where children live and play. Using the 5 microg/dL as the cutoff point, the prevalence of lead poisoning among the study sample was 13.33%. The study revealed that lead levels in floor dust and window sill samples were positively and significantly correlated with BLL among children (p < 0.05). However, the correlations between BLL and the soil, air, and water samples were not significant. Based on this pilot study, a more comprehensive environmental study in surrounding inner city areas is warranted. Parental education on proper housecleaning techniques may also benefit those living in the high lead-exposed communities of inner city Miami.


PMID: 16968968

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