Objectives: The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between communities' sociodemographic and housing characteristics and incidence of lead poisoning.
Methods: This was a population-based correlational study of 238,275 Massachusetts children from birth through 4 years of age who were screened for lead poisoning in 1991-1992. A logistic regression model was developed with the community as the unit of analysis, the case identification rate for lead poisoning (newly identified children with venous blood lead > or = 25 micrograms/dL per 1000 children) as the dependent variable, and US census variables as independent variables.
Results: A significant independent relationship with the community case identification rate of lead poisoning was found for seven variables: median per capita income, percentage of housing built before 1950, percentage of the population who were Black, percentage of children screened, and a "poverty index." Rates of iron deficiency and percentage of Hispanics were not associated with the case identification rate of lead poisoning.
Conclusions: Massachusetts communities' incidence of lead poisoning is correlated with sociodemographic and housing characteristics. In states similar to Massachusetts and without screening data, this model may help target screening programs.