Objectives: This study examined the effect of an active program of household lead paint hazard abatement, applied over 22 years, on childhood lead poisoning in Massachusetts.
Methods: A small areas analysis was used to compare screening blood lead levels of children in Worcester County, Mass (n = 27,590), with those in Providence County, RI (n = 19,071). Data were collapsed according to census tract.
Results: The percentage of children with lead poisoning (blood lead level > or = 20 micrograms/dL [Pe20]) was, on average, 3 times higher in Providence County census tracts (3.2% vs 0.9% in Worcester County census tracts, P < .0001), despite similar percentages of pre-1950s housing in both counties. The ratio of Pe20 in Providence vs Worcester County census tracts was 2.2 (95% confidence interval = 1.8, 2.7), after adjustment for differences in housing, sociodemographic, and screening characteristics. This estimate was robust to alternative regression methods and sensitivity analyses.
Conclusions: Massachusetts policy, which requires lead paint abatement of children's homes and places liability for lead paint poisoning on property owners, may have substantially reduced childhood lead poisoning in that state.