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Pediatrics. 1986 Jun;77(6):826-33.

Correlates of low-level lead exposure in urban children at 2 years of age.


The blood lead levels of a large number of US preschool children approach the value regarded as the upper limit of normal. To reduce the number of children whose levels increase into the range thought to be toxic, the antecedents and correlates of levels in the 0- to 25-micrograms/dL range must be identified. In a large longitudinal study of middle and upper-middle class children living in metropolitan Boston, we evaluated how well five sets of variables predicted children's blood lead levels at 2 years of age: environmental lead sources, mouthing activity, home environment/care giving, prior developmental status, and sociodemographic characteristics. A series of bivariate and multivariate analyses indicated that only environmental lead sources and, to a lesser extent, mouthing activity accounted for significant portions of the variance in blood lead levels. Environmental lead sources were not significantly related to the home environment/care-giving variables or to sociodemographic characteristics. The most promising approach for achieving community-wide reductions in children's blood lead levels is reduction in the amount of lead in the proximate environment.

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