High-intensity targeted screening for elevated blood lead levels among children in 2 inner-city Chicago communities

Am J Public Health. 2004 Nov;94(11):1945-51. doi: 10.2105/ajph.94.11.1945.


Objectives: We assessed the prevalence of elevated blood lead levels (> or = 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood), risk factors, and previous blood lead testing among children in 2 high-risk Chicago, Ill, communities.

Methods: Through high-intensity targeted screening, blood lead levels were tested and risks were assessed among a representative sample of children aged 1 to 5 years who were at risk for lead exposure.

Results: Of the 539 children who were tested, 27% had elevated blood lead levels, and 61% had never been tested previously. Elevated blood lead levels were associated with chipped exterior house paint.

Conclusions: Most of the children who lived in these communities--where the prevalence for elevated blood lead levels among children was 12 times higher than the national prevalence--were not tested for lead poisoning. Our findings highlight the need for targeted community outreach that includes testing blood lead levels in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chicago / epidemiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lead / blood*
  • Lead Poisoning / diagnosis
  • Lead Poisoning / epidemiology*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population


  • Lead