Despite being an established and well-studied public health problem and extensive interventions to reduce exposure, lead poisoning remains a major environmental health threat to children. Evaluation of the Invest in Children Primary Lead Prevention Project, the first Briefly Stated report released by the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development in 2013, documents the evaluation study of the effectiveness of primary prevention in homes of newborn infants to prevent lead poisoning. The study was lead by Dr. Leila Jackson of Case Western Reserve University's Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
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In Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, the prevalence of elevated blood lead levels far exceeds the national rate. The majority of lead poisoning intervention is aimed at screening children ages 1 and 6. In response, the Poverty Center designed a primary lead prevention study to evaluate the effectiveness of low cost, minor lead repairs and caregiver education in homes of newborn infants.
Two designs were employed to evaluate this primary lead prevention program. First, a program-no program design was used to compare blood lead levels of study infants (target infants) to blood lead levels of a random sample of community-based infants. Second, a before-after design was used to determine the program effectiveness in 1) decreasing dust lead loadings in the home, 2) maintaining or decreasing blood lead levels of children who were 6-72 months of age at enrollment (resident children), and 3) increasing caregiver knowledge and practices related to lead hazards.
This evaluation study was supported by Invest in Children and Cuyahoga County with funding support from the George Gund Foundation. The study was carried out in collaboration with the Cleveland Department of Public Health, Cuyahoga County Board of Health, and Environmental Health Watch as well as employees of MomsFirst and Help Me Grow who helped recruit mothers for the study, and of course, the families who participated in the study.
The Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development is a research center at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, a graduate school of social work at Case Western Reserve University.