According to a study just published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology this measure prevented childhood lead poisoning and reduced the overall burden of lead toxicity in children. Historically, the city had used an approach that waited until a child tested positive for lead poisoning, and then addressed home lead hazards to prevent future harm.
"Our data provide evidence that a program of prenatal home screening and lead hazard remediation is effective," reports lead author Daniel R. Berg, MD, MPH, of the Department of Internal Medicine, Family Care Health Centers, St. Louis, Missouri. "Children not only had a lower rate of poisoning, but also a lower average blood lead level. This is significant, since decreased intelligence in children is observed at blood lead levels below the government definition of lead poisoning, and no safe threshold of lead exposure in children has been found."
The Heavy Metal Project targeted the homes of pregnant women from a clinic primarily serving African-American women on Medicaid to receive prenatal home inspection and remediation of lead hazards. Home inspections were conducted by certified inspectors, and when lead was found, remediation efforts included paint stabilization, window replacement, and cleaning. Blood lead levels were obtained from 60 children. The average blood lead level among participants was 2.70 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) versus 3.63 µg/dL for controls. Blood lead levels greater than 5 µg/dL were found in 13.3% of study participants and 22.5% of controls.
A recent study in Philadelphia that screened and remediated newborns' homes did not show similar results. However, 62.5% of the homes in the St. Louis study underwent remediation, while only 28.2% of the homes in Philadelphia did. The control population in St. Louis was older at the time of blood testing, and St. Louis possibly has a riskier housing environment.
The authors note that ideally, cities would be able to correct lead hazards in all available housing, but this is not financially possible. "Long term solutions will only be possible with well-designed public policies which make use of both private and public monies for building repair, demolition, creation of new affordable housing developments, and targeted home screenings such as the one in our study," says Dr. Berg.
Obstetricians should refer high-risk patients for prenatal home lead hazard screening and remediation, the authors recommend. "Philosophically, this screening is similar to screening pregnancies for potential complications, and newborns for congenital metabolic diseases. Lead poisoning, however, is more prevalent than many disorders," Dr. Berg notes. "Neonatal screening can detect a treatable disease in 1 of 800 newborns, but screening the homes of pregnant women for lead hazards can prevent lead poisoning in 1 of 27 children in the City of St. Louis."
Francesca Costanzo | EurekAlert!
'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers
16.02.2018 | National University of Science and Technology MISIS
New process allows tailor-made malaria research
16.02.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
20.02.2018 | Life Sciences
20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering
20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy