245749 A Community-Based Program Addressing Lead Hazard Reduction in Children in Rural Georgia

Monday, October 31, 2011

Simone M. Charles, PhD , Environmental Health Sciences, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
Childhood lead poisoning is a serious health problem for the US and for Georgia. Lead is a neurotoxin with health impacts that include brain damage, reduced IQ, impaired learning abilities, and behavioral problems. Georgia has a “Strategic Plan for the Elimination of Childhood Lead Poisoning in Georgia by 2010” which stresses the importance of primary prevention activities for combating lead hazard exposure as well as the need for education and outreach activities in rural Georgia. This program focused on the children presenting at Bulloch County Head Start presenting with blood lead levels below the State's action level (<10ug/dL) since adverse health effects begin well below this level. A community-based program included Head Start teachers, parents, and students, and the local health department. We determined the levels of lead to which the families were exposed by measuring indoor lead levels in dust, paint chips, water and outdoor soil; correlated levels of exposure with child blood lead levels taking measurements pre and post intervention and education strategies (6 month time span); conducted intervention strategies with parents training them on identifying and reducing/removing lead hazards in the house; educated the parents on lead impacts, and importance of early intervention; provided the resources to families to conduct intervention strategies themselves, and; highlighted networks within the community to support lead hazard exposure reduction. In addition, we attempted, using secondary data, to explore the implications of lead exposure toward the cognitive development of Bulloch County children. We hope to connect the frequency of elevated blood lead levels (EBLLs) of children in 3rd and 4th grade in Bulloch County with their performance on standardized tests by school and district. The community program effectiveness was evaluated and informed us on the efficacy of in-home and community-based programs to reduce childhood blood lead levels.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of this session, the participant will be able to: 1. Discuss the relationship between lead exposure at low levels and low blood lead levels in children. 2. Articulate the effectiveness of in-home interventions and community-based programs to reduce childhood blood lead levels.

Keywords: Child Health, Lead

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract author on the content I am responsible for because I have worked on similar studies over the past 5 years.
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.