Effect of interventions on children's blood lead levels

Environ Health Perspect. 1998 Feb;106(2):79-83. doi: 10.1289/ehp.9810679.


Trail, Canada, has been the site of an active lead/zinc smelter for nearly a century. Since 1991, the Trail Community Lead Task Force has carried out blood lead screening, case management, education programs targeted at early childhood groups and the general community, community dust abatement, exposure pathways studies, and remedial trials. From 1989 through 1996, average blood lead levels of children tested for the first time declined at an average rate of 0.6 microg/dl/year, while blood lead levels in Canadian children not living near point sources appeared to be leveling off following the phase-out of leaded gasoline. Since there was no concurrent improvement in local environmental conditions during this time, it is possible that the continuing decline in Trail blood lead levels has been at least partly due to community-wide intervention programs. One year follow-up of children whose families received in-home educational visits, as well as assistance with home-based dust control measures, found that these specific interventions produced average blood lead changes of +0.5- -4.0 microg/dl, with statistically significant declines in 3 years out of 5. Education and dust control, particularly actions targeted toward higher risk children, appear to have served as effective and appropriate interim remedial measures while major source control measures have been implemented at the smelter site.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • British Columbia
  • Case Management
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dust / prevention & control
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Pollution / prevention & control*
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lead / analysis
  • Lead / blood*
  • Lead Poisoning / prevention & control*
  • Mass Screening
  • Metallurgy*
  • Models, Biological
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis
  • Spectrophotometry, Atomic
  • Time Factors


  • Dust
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Lead