199337 Lead Screening and Family Education: Characterizing Risk Factors

Monday, November 9, 2009: 2:45 PM

Janet Primomo, PhD , Nursing, University of Washington, Tacoma, Tacoma, WA
Frank DiBiase, MA , Environmental Health Program, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, Tacoma, WA
Elizabeth Pulos, PhD , Epidemiology, Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, Tacoma, WA
Lindsay Spencer, BS , Environmental Health Program, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, Tacoma, WA
Problem: Scientific evidence suggests that there is no known safe level of blood lead. In Pierce County, Washington, blood lead levels and risk factors in children are unknown. Furthermore, providers generally do not perceive elevated blood lead levels (EBLL) to be a problem in the state. Our purpose was to determine the percent of children in low-income, minority populations with EBLL and associated risk factors, and to provide education about lead exposure prevention.

Methods: Pierce County received an EPA targeted grant to reduce childhood lead poisoning. Community partnerships were established to plan and conduct screening events and education, particularly in African American, Asian-Pacific Islander, and Latino communities. A finger-prick method of blood draw and portable testing instrument were used. Protocols were developed for children with EBLL that included provider referrals for a venous draw to confirm the result, and home visits by environmental specialists to determine the problem. Follow-up phone calls were made to provide additional education and collect information about precautions taken to reduce exposure.

Findings: Capillary blood lead levels were obtained for 1072 individuals; 50% were children < 6 years old; half were from the target population. Preliminary results show that 13% of children had blood lead levels > 3.3 /dL. Further analysis is being conducted to characterize EBLL exposures and determine precautions families take to prevent exposures.

Conclusions: Community partnerships were used successfully to conduct capillary blood level screening and education at community events. As a result, risk factors for EBLL in the county are better understood.

Learning Objectives:
1)Describe a community partnership created to plan and screen children for blood lead levels and to provide community education about lead exposure prevention. 2) Identify characteristics of elevated blood lead levels in children in Pierce County, Washington.

Keywords: Lead, Children

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a faculty member working with the local health department on this project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.