Spatial relationships between lead sources and children’s blood lead levels in the urban center of Indianapolis (USA)
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Urban children remain disproportionately at risk of having higher blood lead levels than their suburban counterparts. The Westside Cooperative Organization (WESCO), located in Marion County, Indianapolis, Indiana, has a history of children with high blood lead levels as well as high soil lead (Pb) values. This study aims at determining the spatial relationship between soil Pb sources and children’s blood lead levels. Soils have been identified as a source of chronic Pb exposure to children, but the spatial scale of the source–recipient relationship is not well characterized. Neighborhood-wide analysis of soil Pb distribution along with a furnace filter technique for sampling interior Pb accumulation for selected homes (n = 7) in the WESCO community was performed. Blood lead levels for children aged 0–5 years during the period 1999–2008 were collected. The study population’s mean blood lead levels were higher than national averages across all ages, race, and gender. Non-Hispanic blacks and those individuals in the Wishard advantage program had the highest proportion of elevated blood lead levels. The results show that while there is not a direct relationship between soil Pb and children’s blood lead levels at a spatial scale of ~100 m, resuspension of locally sourced soil is occurring based on the interior Pb accumulation. County-wide, the largest predictor of elevated blood lead levels is the location within the urban core. Variation in soil Pb and blood lead levels on the community level is high and not predicted by housing stock age or income. Race is a strong predictor for blood lead levels in the WESCO community.
KeywordsLead Soil Health Children Environmental health
Westside Cooperative Organization
- Census Block
Geographic unit used by United States Census Bureau for tabulation of 100 % data. This can correspond to a city block in an urban setting
- Block Group
Made up of several Census Blocks. Smallest geographic unit for which the United States Census Bureau publishes sample data
- Census Tract
Designed by the United States Census Bureau to be relatively homogeneous units with respect to population characteristics, economic status, and living conditions. Census tracts average about 4,000 inhabitants
Blood lead level
Microgram per deciliter
Parts per million
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