Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Science & Environmental Policy


ead poisoning is now seen as the single most significant environmental health threat to American children. Blood lead levels in the U.S. population have declined since taking lead out of gasoline and paint. Yet 890,000 U.S. children have elevated blood lead levels equal to or greater than 10ug/dL. For every increase of 10ug/dL blood lead level in a child, it is estimated that a child will lose 2 IQ points. Lead poisoning is preventable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its guidelines in 1997 to move from universal blood lead screening to a more targeted approach focusing on an efforts on identifying and reaching children at greatest risk for lead poisoning. These guidelines required public health officials to develop statewide plans for childhood blood lead screening. Each county in the State of California has unique concerns and must develop their own guidelines to strategically allocate funds to fight lead poisoning and to tailor educational outreach programs to high risk populations within each county. This project identified the sources of lead poisoning, demographics and ZIP code areas where cases of lead poisoning have been reported in Monterey County by reviewing, retrospectively, reports of lead poisoning in children, gathered by the Monterey County's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program from 1997 to 1999. Three areas stood out amongst the results. First, the greatest identified source of lead poisoning was pottery (28%), followed by home remedies (16%). Second, in the ethnicity/race category, Hispanic comprised 97%. Third, the largest percentage of lead poisoned children resided in Seaside. When reviewing the records 40% of the cases were imported, meaning the children had recently arrived in the United States or it was determined that these children were exposed to the lead source while out of the United States. This information reveals that health education and outreach must be tailored to a culturally diverse Monterey County.


Capstone Project (B.S.) Earth Systems Science & Policy Institute

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