Ethics and Research with Children: A Case-Based Approach

By Eric Kodish | Go to book overview

9
Justice, Lead, and Environmental Research Involving Children

Robert M. Nelson


CASE DESCRIPTION

The Lead-based Paint Abatement and Repair and Maintenance Study in Baltimore (hereafter referred to as the Baltimore lead abatement study) was conducted between 1992 and 1996. The primary objective of the study was to determine the short-term (2–6 months) and long-term (12–24 months) efficacy of three different levels of “interim control interventions” in structurally sound housing where children were at risk of exposure to lead in settled house dust and paint. The three levels of intervention (referred to as low, intermediate, or high) were compared to two different control groups of either modern urban housing built after 1979 or housing that received comprehensive lead abatement between 1989 and 1991. The outcome measures included the analysis of lead in residential dust using two different collection methods (i.e., traditional wipe and experimental cyclone) and serial blood lead concentrations of young children living in the affected housing (EPA, 1997a, 1997b, 1997c, 1998; Farfel et al., 1996).

Any house (including the control groups) to be included in the 2-year study must have been the primary residence for at least one child who was between the age of 6 through 48 months at the time of enrollment. In addition, intervention (or noncontrol) houses must have had preintervention dust lead loadings that exceeded the Maryland postabatement clearance levels in order to be eligible for one of the three intervention groups. Eligible houses that were occupied at the time of enrollment were randomized to either the low or intermediate-level intervention. Eligible houses that were vacant were randomized to either the intermediate or high-level intervention. The randomization scheme was designed to assure an equal distribution of houses among the three groups, with the intermediate intervention evenly distributed between housing that was either occupied or vacant at enrollment. The cost of the low-, medium-, and high-level interventions were capped by the Maryland Department of

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