Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Exposure of U.S. Children to Residential Dust Lead, 1999-2004: II. the Contribution of Lead-Contaminated Dust to Children's Blood Lead Levels

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Exposure of U.S. Children to Residential Dust Lead, 1999-2004: II. the Contribution of Lead-Contaminated Dust to Children's Blood Lead Levels

Article excerpt

BACKGROUND: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected health, housing, and environmental data in a single integrated national survey for the first time in the United States in 1999-2004.

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to determine how floor dust lead (PbD) loadings and other housing factors influence childhood blood lead (PbB) levels and lead poisoning.

METHODS: We analyzed data from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), including 2,155 children 12-60 months of age with PbB and PbD measurements. We used linear and logistic regression models to predict log-transformed PbB and the odds that PbB was [greater than or equal to] 5 and [greater than or equal to] 10 [micro]g/dL at a range of floor PbD.

RESULTS: The population-weighted geometric mean (GM) PbB was 2.0 [micro]g/dL (geometric standard error = 1.0). Age of child, race/ethnicity, serum cotinine concentration, poverty-to-income ratio, country of birth, year of building construction, floor PbD by floor surface and condition, windowsill PbD, presence of deteriorated paint, home-apartment type, smoking in the home, and recent renovation were significant predictors in either the linear model [the proportion of variability in the dependent variable accounted for by the model ([R.sup.2]) = 40%] or logistic model for 10 [micro]g/dL ([R.sup.2] = 5%). At floor PbD = 12 [micro]g/[ft.sup.2], the models predict that 4.6% of children living in homes constructed before 1978 have PbB [greater than or equal to] 10 [micro]g/dL, 27% have PbB [greater than or equal to] 5 [micro]g/dL, and the GM PbB is 3.9 [micro]g/dL.

CONCLUSIONS: Lowering the floor PbD standard below the current standard of 40 [micro]g/[ft.sup.2] would protect more children from elevated PbB.

KEY WORDS: blood lead, dust lead, housing, lead poisoning, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, NHANES. Environ Health Perspect 117:468-474 (2009). doi:10.1289/ehp.l1918 available via http://dx.doi.org/ [Online 14 November 2008]

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) Healthy People 2010 initiative has set a national goal of eliminating blood lead (PbB) levels [greater than or equal to] 10 [micro]g/dL among children 1-5 years of age by 2010 (DHHS 2000). PbB used to define unsafe levels of exposure for children have decreased over the past few decades as additional evidence has demonstrated newly recognized adverse health effects, even at relatively low exposures [Canfield et al. 2003; Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1991; Lanphear et al. 2005]. Childhood lead poisoning prevention efforts are sometimes called a victory in light of the dramatic reductions in population PbB. However, the magnitude of ongoing exposures, the remaining large stores of lead sources (particularly paint in older housing), and the length of time it has taken to address such exposures show that much remains to be done if a true, lasting victory is to be achieved (Jacobs et al. 2002; Lanphear 2007; Levin et al. 2008). We present new data on dust lead (PbD) loading and childhood PbB from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2004 and examine their implications.

The most important source of lead exposure for children today is from lead paint as it deteriorates or is disturbed and subsequently contaminates settled residential dust and soil (Lanphear et al. 1998; Reissman et al. 2002). Another important source of lead in dust and soil is the estimated 5.9 million tons of gasoline lead emitted from motor vehicles before its removal in the mid-1980s (Mielke 1999). Normal hand-to-mouth activity exposes young children to lead in the residential environment (Bornschein et al. 1987; Lanphear et al. 1998). In 1999 and 2001, respectively, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established a PbD standard for the home environment of 40 [micro]g/[ft. …

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