Spatial statistical analysis of childhood blood lead exposure in Texas

Qi Yu, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Exposure to lead can cause serious long-term damage to human body, especially the brain, kidneys and reproductive organs. Lead stored in the body remains a source of internal exposure with a half-life of 20 to 30 years in bone. Lead can damage brain and nervous systems of children (including unborn) much more seriously than of adults. Children under age 6 are at a high risk since they tend to put their hands or other objects which may be contaminated with lead dust into their mouths. In 2010, a total of 34 U.S. States and the District of Columbia (DC) identified approximately 24,000 children under age 6 with blood lead levels (BLLs) =10 µg/dL and approximately 243,000 children under age 6 with BLLs =5 µg/dL, the upper reference range value established in 2012 for follow-up blood lead testing in children under age 6 (Bellinger, 2003). Studies have also shown that children under age 6 are more likely to have elevated BLLs if they are poor, with race of non-Hispanic black or Mexican-American, and/or live in older housing (MMWR, 2000). Lead poisoning causes disabling disease, but is completely preventable. A “Healthy People 2020 Objective” target is to reduce the mean BLLs in children under age 6 by 10%. Achieving this goal, Texas forms the Texas Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (TX CLPPP) that leverages limited public resources and that targets activities to communities and populations at greatest risk. It also requires increased collaboration and extensive partnerships among government and non-government organizations involved with maternal and child health, environment health and housing. In this thesis, data obtained from TX CLPPP and US Census were used for spatial and regression analysis. Data were collected from 2005 to 2011. Unless otherwise indicated, for any statistical comparison, a significance level of α=0.05 will be noted, and a 95% confidence interval may be provided for a point estimate. Children who are under age 6 and living inside the State of Texas is the study population. Linear regression and statistical spatial analysis will be applied for this thesis research. Using statistical spatial analysis is to reveal spatial and temporal relationships, patterns and trends of elevated blood lead level in Texas and understand the impact of place on health, which is a key element of epidemiologic investigation. This thesis identified the demographic, socioeconomics, or health-related risk factors for childhood blood lead. Using the spatial analysis can visualize, understand, and reveal the patterns and trends to improve public health decision-making and to reduce the risk of blood lead.

Subject Area

Biostatistics|Environmental Health

Recommended Citation

Yu, Qi, "Spatial statistical analysis of childhood blood lead exposure in Texas" (2016). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10126737.