142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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Risk Factors and Geographic Hot Spots for Childhood Lead Poisoning in Tennessee

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 10:50 AM - 11:10 AM

Dawn Ford, MS, PhD , College of Health Science, Walden University, Minneapolis, MN
Vasileios Margaritis, PhD, MSc, DDS , College of Health Sciences, Walden University, Minneapolis, MN
Aaron Mendelsohn, PhD, MPH , College of Health Science, Walden University, Minneapolis, MN
Background: Childhood lead poisoning can cause serious health effects in children and is a public health concern in the United States. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lowered the blood lead reference level for childhood lead poisoning from 10 µg/dL to 5 µg/dL.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify risk factors and high-risk populations at the census tract level in Tennessee associated with the new reference level.

Methods: A retrospective cross-sectional design was used with secondary data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH).  Health records of children under the age of 6 years with a BLL reported to TDH in 2009-2013 were included (N = 7,302). The variables examined were gender, age at time of test, race, ethnicity, pre-1950 housing, and poverty level.  Logistic regression and Getis-Ord Gi* spatial analyses were performed. 

Results: African Americans have significantly higher odds for lower blood lead levels (odds ratio [OR] = 2.07, 95% CI [1.60, 2.68]). Ages 4 and 5 (OR = 0.64, 95% CI [0.45, 0.90]; OR = 0.62, 95% CI [0.42, 0.91]), compared to ages <1 through 3 years, and the highest quintile of pre-1950 housing (OR = 0.72 (95% CI [0.56, 0.93]) have significantly lower odds for lower blood lead levels.  According to the Getis-Ord Gi* analysis, Memphis and northeast Tennessee were statistically significant high-risk areas for the new reference level, while the highest BLLs were characterized by unique high-risk areas in southeast/southcentral Tennessee and northwest Tennessee.

Conclusion: Understanding the risk factors and areas of greatest risk will enable the TDH to develop targeted strategies for achieving the Healthy People 2020 goals for childhood lead poisoning.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe risk factors associated with the childhood lead poisoning in Tennessee. Identify high-risk areas for childhood lead poisoning in Tennessee.

Keyword(s): Lead, Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator on this project focused on the epidemiology of childhood lead poisoning in Tennessee. I have conducted additional studies on community health related to both childhood lead poisoning and influenza vaccination (H1N1). My scientific interests include environmental health and communicable disease.
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.