The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3027.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - Board 3

Abstract #55354

Prevalence of childhood lead poisoning in rural Minnesota

Erik W. Zabel, PhD, MPH1, Myron Falken, PhD1, Michele Sonnabend, PHN2, and Daniel Symonik, PhD1. (1) Environmental Health Division, Minnesota Department of Health, 121 East Seventh Place, P.O. Box 64975, St. Paul, MN 55164-0975, 651-215-0967,, (2) Countryside Public Health Services, 201 13th St S, Benson, MN 56215

Most attention to the problem of lead poisoning has focused on urban areas. However, Minnesota is a largely rural state, with roughly half the population living outside the major metropolitan area of Minneapolis/St. Paul. We sought to rigorously characterize elevated blood lead prevalence in a representative rural area. A comprehensive prevalence study was designed to test blood lead levels in all children up to 48 months old in a three-county area of west-central Minnesota. This area has a high proportion of homes built prior to 1950 and a relatively high rate of poverty, two of the major risk factors for elevated blood lead levels (EBLL, i.e. a blood lead level of 10 micrograms/dl or greater). Approximately 1,500 eligible families were asked to complete a one-page questionnaire about their child's possible exposure to lead poisoning risks and have their child's blood tested for lead. Recruitment of study participants occurred through a combination of mailed materials, face-to-face contact at WIC clinics, and media publicity. Local health clinics were also actively involved in recruitment during well-child and sick visits. Blood lead tests were obtained for 75% of eligible children. EBLLs were observed in 2.1% of tested children, and 0.5% of children had blood lead levels above 20 micrograms/dl. Receiving Medicaid or WIC assistance and spending time in pre-1950 housing were important determinants of EBLL. We achieved greater awareness of lead issues by local physicians and the public, and developed a closer relationship with local public health and health care provider organizations.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Lead, Child Health

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Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Children's Environmental Health & Vulnerable Populations Poster Session - Childhood Lead Poisoning

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA