Behaviors and blood lead levels of children in a lead-mining area and a comparison community

Ana Maria Murgueytio, R. Gregory Evans, David Sterling, Fernando Serrano, Daryl Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This study investigates the relationship between behavioral and other modifiable factors and blood lead in children living in a lead-mining community and in a comparison group of children. Children six to 71 months of age were selected from a community that was heavily contaminated with lead- mining waste and from a comparison community. Participants were interviewed, and venous blood was collected for lead analysis. Environmental measurements of soil, dust, and paint were made. Study results indicate that average blood lead levels and environmental measurements were significantly higher in the mining community. Factors that were related to blood lead levels included income, education, home ownership, age of home, playing in grassy areas rather than dirt, putting nonfood items in mouth, bathing and washing practices, number of hours playing outside, taking nonfood items outside, swallowing nonfood items, and putting paint chips in mouth. These factors explained more of the variation in blood lead levels in the control group than in the mining group. Lead intervention strategies that consist only of education designed to modify behavior might be less effective in high- exposure areas such as those where lead-mining and smelting operations occur. Interventions that combine education with remedial activities are more effective in prevention of lead exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-20
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1998


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