Ethics. Research. Community.

Do the same houses poison many children? An investigation of lead poisoning in Rochester, New York, 1993-2004.

Public health reports (Washington, D.C. : 1974). 
2007 Jul-Aug
[Record Source: PubMed]
OBJECTIVES: In several cities, researchers have found that a discrete number of properties owned by a small number of owners house multiple lead poisoned children over time. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not a small number of properties were implicated in the poisoning of multiple children in Rochester, New York, between 1993 and 2004. METHODS: We analyzed the patterns of ownership and repeated positive environmental investigations (i.e., documented lead hazards) in homes of lead poisoned children using county health department data during a 12-year period. RESULTS: A small percentage (14.8%) of properties in which the health department found a lead hazard had previously documented lead hazards. When a second positive investigation occurred, the average elapsed time between investigations was a little less than three years. Only four property owners owned more than two properties that had multiple positive investigations. CONCLUSIONS: In some cities, a small number of properties or property owners provide housing for a large percentage of lead poisoned children. However, this situation is not universal. In Rochester, a relatively small percentage of homes that housed a child with an elevated blood lead level have a history of housing lead poisoned children. In cities like Rochester, lead hazard reduction resources should focus on high-risk housing stock determined by factors such as age, value, and condition, rather than on those with a prior record of housing lead poisoned children.
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