Spatial-temporal association of soil Pb and children's blood Pb in the Detroit Tri-County Area of Michigan (USA).
Lead is a well-known toxicant associated with numerous chronic diseases. Curtailing industrial emissions, leaded paint, lead in food, and banning highway use of leaded gasoline effectively decreased children's exposure. In New Orleans, irrespective of Hurricane Katrina flooding, lead declined concurrently in topsoil and children's blood. We postulate that topsoil lead and blood lead decreases are associated and common in U.S. cities. This study tests that concept. A small 2002 soil lead survey of 8 Detroit Tri-County Area census tracts was repeated in October 2019. Between 2002 and 2019, Detroit median soil lead decreased from 183 to 92 mg/kg (or 5.4 mg/kg/yr.) and declined in Pontiac from 93 to 68 mg/kg (or 1.4 mg/kg/yr.). Median soil lead remained ~10 mg/kg in outlying communities. Median soil lead (in mg/kg) in communities at < 21 km compared to ≥ 21 km from central Detroit, respectively, decreased from 183 to 33 (P-value 10-12
) in 2002 and from 92 to 35 (P-value 10-07
) in 2019. Children's lead exposures were highest in Detroit (population 0.7 million in 2010) and lower by more than half in Pontiac (population 60 thousand in 2010). Between 2002 and 2018, children with blood lead ≥4.5 μg/dL in Detroit declined from 44% to 5%, and in Pontiac from 17% to 2%. The most vulnerable children live in the most lead contaminated communities. To meet the goal of primary prevention for children, along with other efforts, this study supports landscaping with low lead soil to reduce exposure in lead contaminated communities.
Mielke, HW; Gonzales, CR; Powell, ET; Shah, A; Berry, KJ; Richter, DD
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