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The contribution of housing renovation to children¿s blood lead levels: a cohort study

27 Aug 2013

Routine renovation of older housing is a risk factor for childhood lead poisoning, but the contribution to children’s blood lead levels is poorly defined for children with lower exposure levels.
We examined a prospective cohort of 276 children followed from 6 to 24 months of age. We conducted surveys of renovation activities and residential lead hazards and obtained blood lead level (B-Pb) every six months. We analyzed B-Pb in a repeated measures design using a mixed effects linear model.
Parent reported interior renovation ranged from 11 to 25% of housing units at the four, 6-month periods. In multivariable analysis, children whose housing underwent interior renovation had a 12% higher mean B-Pb by two years of age compared with children whose housing units were not renovated (p < 0.01). The time between renovation and the child blood lead sample was associated with higher B-Pb (p-value for trend <0.01); compared to children in non-renovated housing, children whose housing units underwent renovation in the prior month had a 17% higher mean B-Pb at two years of age, whereas children whose housing renovation occurred in the prior 2–6 months had an 8% higher mean B-Pb. We also found an association between higher paint lead loading, measured using an X-ray fluorescence (XRF) based paint lead index, and child B-Pb (p = 0.02); for every 10 mg/cm2 increase in paint lead loading index there was a 7.5% higher mean childhood B-Pb.
In an analysis of data collected before the recent changes to Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead, Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, routine interior housing renovation was associated with a modest increase in children’s B-Pb. These results are important for the provision of clinical advice, for housing and public health professionals, and for policymakers.

27 August 2013

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Environmental Health Journal