Blood Lead Levels in Iowa Newborns

This study looked at the spatial patterns of elevated blood lead levels in newborns (those measuring above the CDC’s threshold of 5µg/dL), and area-level covariates from the American Community Survey within Iowa. Using dried blood spot samples from a five-month study period in 2006, we uncovered a high number of newborns in Iowa have blood lead levels above the threshold at which case management is recommended. While no obvious spatial patterns emerged, areas with high counts of newborns testing above the threshold were characterized by higher percentages of women with less than a college education and a higher proportion of pre-1940s housing (at which time most houses contained lead). One persistent hotspot was detected in a rural zip code tabulation area (ZCTA) west of Des Moines.

Carrel, M., Zahrieh, D., Young, S.G., Oleson, J., Ryckman, K.K., Wels, B., Simmons, D.L., & Saftlas, A. (2017) High prevalence of elevated blood lead levels in both rural and urban Iowa newborns: spatial patterns and area-level covariates. PLOS ONE, 12(5), e0177930. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0177830

A single ZCTA in western Iowa was identified as a hotspot of elevated blood lead levels in newborns.

A single ZCTA in western Iowa was identified as a persistent hotspot of elevated blood lead levels in newborns.

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