USPSTF: More Research Needed to Determine What Primary Care Providers Can Do to Detect and Treat Lead Poisoning

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alex H. Krist, MD, MPHVice-Chairperson, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Professor of family medicine and population healt Virginia Commonwealth University

Dr. Krist

Alex H. Krist, MD, MPH
Vice-Chairperson, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
Professor of family medicine and population healt
Virginia Commonwealth University

 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Exposure to lead can have serious lifelong effects on the health and wellbeing of children. There is no safe level of lead exposure, so finding and removing any source of lead exposure is essential.

In its review of the evidence, the Task Force found that more research is needed to determine what primary care clinicians can do to help prevent and treat the health problems that can result from lead exposure in childhood and pregnancy.

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High Lead Levels in Refugee Children Resettled in US

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Madhav P. Bhatta, PhD, MPHAssociate Professor, Epidemiology & Global HealthCollege of Public HealthKent State UniversityKent, OH 44242

Dr. Bhatta

Madhav P. Bhatta, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor, Epidemiology & Global Health
College of Public Health
Kent State University
Kent, OH 44242

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Lead exposure, especially in children, in any amount is harmful. Lead poisoning is a growing global environmental health problem with increasing lead-related diseases, disabilities, and deaths.  While exposure to lead in US children, in general, has significantly declined in the last three to four decades certain sub-groups of US children such as African Americans, immigrants and resettled refugees, and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are still vulnerable to environmental lead exposure.

Previous studies among resettled refugee children in the United States had found 4- to 5-times higher prevalence of elevated blood lead level (EBLL) when compared to US-born children. However, most of the studies were conducted when EBLL was defined as blood lead level ≥ 10 µg/dL. In 2012, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed the reference value for EBLL to ≥ 5 µg/dL. Moreover, because the countries of origin for US resettled refugees change over time, it is important to have epidemiologic studies that provide the current information on EBLL among these vulnerable new US immigrant children.

Using blood lead level data from the post-resettlement medical screening, our study examined the prevalence of elevated blood lead level at the time of resettlement among former refugee children who were settled in the state of Ohio from 2009-2016. We had a large and diverse sample (5,661 children from 46 countries of origin) of children for the study, which allowed us to assess EBLL in children from several countries of origin that had not been previously studied. Continue reading