Poisoned landscapes: the epidemiology of environmental lead exposure in Massachusetts children 1990-1991

Soc Sci Med. 1994 Sep;39(6):757-66. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(94)90037-x.


This research models the geographic variation in lead poisoning among children living in Massachusetts between 1990 and 1991. Elevated levels of blood lead, which reduce educational performance, arise because children are exposed to unnaturally concentrated sources of lead in the built environment. A Poisson regression model indicates that a large number of children with lead poisoning may be detected in towns with a high proportion of older housing, female headed households, African-Americans, and an industrial heritage. Our results suggest links between the processes of urbanization and industrialization in Massachusetts and today's lead poisoned landscapes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Environmental Monitoring / statistics & numerical data*
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Lead / pharmacokinetics*
  • Lead Poisoning / blood
  • Lead Poisoning / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Protoporphyrins / blood
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data


  • Protoporphyrins
  • Lead