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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2016, Article ID 8791686, 8 pages
Research Article

Revisiting Nonresidential Environmental Exposures and Childhood Lead Poisoning in the US: Findings from Kansas, 2000–2005

1University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
2University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health, Department of Biostatistics, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
3University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health, Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Received 13 October 2015; Revised 18 December 2015; Accepted 26 January 2016

Academic Editor: Terry Tudor

Copyright © 2016 Lu Ann Brink et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although blood lead levels (BLLs) in US children have dramatically declined over the past 40 years, there remain pockets of children living in areas with elevated BLLs. While some increases (≥10 μg/dL) may be associated with legacy lead paint, ambient air lead may be contributing to the problem. A deidentified dataset of information on over 60,000 Kansas children under 3 years of age who were tested for BLL was provided through the Kansas Environmental Public Health Tracking Network for the period 2000–2005. Using ArcGIS, we calculated distance (in miles) from a lead-emitting industry referred to as a toxic release inventory (TRI) site. The USEPA TRI database tracks the management of certain toxic chemicals that may pose a threat to human health. US facilities in different industry sectors must report annually amount of substances like lead into the environment including their exact location. Distance from a TRI site was inversely related to BLL after controlling for area-level poverty and pre-1950 housing. The results of our evaluation indicate there is a significant relationship between proximity to lead industry and childhood BLLs. Proximity to sources of lead emissions should be evaluated as a possible factor when identifying children for targeted BLL testing.