Childhood lead poisoning and observed housing conditions: first findings from Kansas City

Authors: Neal Wilson*, University of Missouri - Kansas City
Topics: Economic Geography, Hazards and Vulnerability, Environment
Keywords: Health Geography, GIS, Childhood Lead Exposure
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Studio 8, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Lead has long been understood as a useful but dangerous metal. With industrialization lead went into widespread use despite widespread knowledge of its dangers. As a more complete understanding of the deleterious effects of lead became known it was phased out of gasoline and paint yet the residue of these products remains in the built environment. Progress is being made regarding the extent of lead poisoning in children but low levels of poisoning is wide spread . Recent studies show that even low levels of lead poisoning can have significant negative long term effects on children. Taking steps toward the prevention of lead exposure entails discovering where and how lead is likely to come into contact with children, a task well suited to GIS analysis. This paper is the first application of the Center for Economic Information's neighborhood conditions survey (NHCS) to issues surrounding childhood blood lead poisoning. In this paper the NHCS is used in simple spatial and regression models along with patent level blood lead data from the Kansas City health department to identify the impact on childhood blood lead loading associated with housing conditions. We find that incorporating parcel level observations of the NHCS to our lead exposure modeling adds explanatory power to traditional models that only focus on age of home at the parcel level.

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