RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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The effect of lead-based paint hazard remediation on blood lead levels of lead poisoned children in New York City.

Despite the widespread use of lead paint hazard control for children with lead poisoning, few controlled studies that estimate the effect of such control on children's blood lead levels have been published. This retrospective follow-up study examined the effects of lead hazard remediation and its timing on the blood lead levels of lead-poisoned children. From the New York City child blood lead registry, 221 children were selected who had an initial blood lead level of 20-44 micro g/dL between 1 July 1994 and 31 December 1996; were 6 months to 6 years of age; had a report of a follow-up blood lead test between 10 and 14 months after the initial test; had a lead-based paint hazard identified in the primary dwelling unit prior to the 10- to 14-month follow-up blood lead test; had resided or spent time at only one address with an identified lead-based paint hazard; and were not chelated. The decline in geometric mean blood lead levels from baseline to 10-14 months later was compared for children whose homes were remediated and whose homes were not remediated during the follow-up period. Regardless of remediation, geometric mean blood lead levels declined significantly from 24.3 micro g/dL at the initial diagnosis to 12.3 micro g/dL at the 10- to 14-month follow-up blood lead test (P<0.01). Among the 146 children whose homes were remediated the geometric mean blood lead levels declined 53% compared to 41% among the 75 children whose homes were not remediated by the follow-up blood lead test, a remediation effect of approximately 20% (P<0.01). After adjusting for potential confounders, the remediation effect was 11%, although it was no longer significant. Race was the only factor that appeared to confound the relationship: Black children had higher follow-up blood lead levels even after controlling for other factors, including the natural logarithm of the initial blood lead level. The effect of remediation appeared to be stronger for younger (10 to <36 months old) than for older (36 to 72 months old) children (P=0.06). While children in homes with earlier remediation (within less than 3 months) appeared to have greater declines in blood lead levels at the follow-up test than children in homes with later remediation (after 3 or more months), this trend was not significant when controlling for confounding factors. The findings of this study suggest that early identification of lead-poisoned children and timely investigation and abatement of hazards contribute to reducing blood lead levels. However, the apparent effect is modest and further research is needed to systematically test and improve the effectiveness of lead hazard controls.

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