An article co-authored by Mikyung Baek, PhD, Kierra Barnett, PhD, Michael B. Outrich & Jason Reece, Ph.D was published in the March 2021 issue of The International Journal of Environmental Research and Publication. This article belongs to the Special Issue: Child-Friendly Planning and Public Health.
Lead is well known for its adverse health effects on children, particularly when exposure occurs at earlier ages. The primary source of lead hazards among young children is paint used in buildings built before 1978. Despite being 100% preventable, some children remain exposed and state and local policies often remain reactive. This study presents a methodology for planners and public health practitioners to proactively address lead risks among young children. Using geospatial analyses, this study examines neighborhood level measurement of lead paint hazard in homes and childcare facilities and the concentration of children aged 0–5. Results highlight areas of potential lead paint hazard hotspots within a county in the Midwestern state studied, which coincides with higher concentration of non-white children. This places lead paint hazard in the context of social determinants of health, where existing disparity in distribution of social and economic resources reinforces health inequity. In addition to being proactive, lead poisoning intervention efforts need to be multi-dimensional and coordinated among multiple parties involved. Identifying children in higher lead paint hazard areas, screening and treating them, and repairing their homes and childcare facilities will require close collaboration of healthcare professionals, local housing and planning authorities, and community members.
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