Award Date

12-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

First Committee Member

Sheniz Moonie, Chair

Second Committee Member

Timothy Bungum

Third Committee Member

Shawn Gerstenberger

Graduate Faculty Representative

Patricia Aplert

Number of Pages

59

Abstract

Lead, as a toxic substance, invades the human body, and gradually damages the organs. Oftentimes, elevated blood lead levels are not recognized until serious health issues are found. In the United States, approximately 250,000 children aged 1-5 years have elevated blood lead levels greater than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2004).

However, there is no effective treatment for lead poisoning. Chelation can merely decrease the blood lead levels but cannot reverse the existing damage. To prevent and control childhood lead poisoning, many studies have been conducted to investigate the sources of lead and analyze effective prevention strategies. Blood lead screening tests, as preventive methods for childhood lead poisoning, have been implemented by several states for years. However, some still question the effectiveness of blood lead screening tests, and the cost of these tests creates another barrier. These factors largely hinder the progress of eliminating childhood lead poisoning. To institute blood lead screening tests among different populations, some crucial factors must be considered, such as the children's demographic information and the barriers of accessing health care.

The data used in this study was provided by the Nevada Kindergarten Health Survey conducted in 2010. This study aims to analyze the association between the likelihood of obtaining blood lead screening tests and childhood demographic characteristics, namely annual household income, race/ethnicity, home zip code, and barriers to accessing to healthcare. The study results signal the barriers for children's blood lead screening tests and provide recommendations for public health professionals and policy makers to implement effective preventive methods for childhood lead poisoning.

Keywords

Biological sciences; Blood — Analysis; Blood lead screening; Childhood demographics; Health and environmental sciences; Health survey; Kindergarten; Lead poisoning in children – Prevention; Nevada

Disciplines

Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Environmental Public Health | Maternal and Child Health | Preventive Medicine

Language

English