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Link Between Childhood Lead Poisoning and Asthma Development and Intervention

Maharaj, V

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000289006.84137.21

Florida International University, United States.


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Describe the association between childhood lead poisoning (CLP) and childhood asthma development and intervention.

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Materials and Methods:

Based on current literature that focused on the effects of lead exposure on children and community-based interventions to reduce environmental triggers for asthma among children, we surmise that strategies to combat CLP should be integrated with childhood asthma interventions because of similarities between the 2 environmentally-induced illnesses.

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Lead poisoning and asthma are common pediatric health problems and are both linked to the environment, ie, substandard housing conditions. The deteriorating paint creates dust contamination, which is a vector in both CLP and asthma morbidity (contains contaminants that are fine lead particles and harbors allergens). Given those similarities, lead poisoning and asthma may often occur together, especially in urban, low-income minority children because of their increased vulnerability to both illnesses. One study believed that if a larger proportion of children have both lead poisoning and asthma, then there should be some important changes in the way those children are treated and in the prevention for both illnesses. However, this study found there was no increased likelihood of asthma diagnosis or symptoms among children with lead poisoning. The study acknowledges, nonetheless, there is a difference in the peak incidences of the 2 diseases—high blood lead levels are often detected in preschoolers, whereas asthma surfaces most often at school age.

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As such, CLP interventions that utilize the screening, case management, home inspection, environment intervention, and parent education model could easily add remediation education on moisture and dust contamination within their working model. By addressing these housing-related health hazards together, the integrated intervention will be cost-effective and decrease asthma morbidity because homes would be inspected once and parents would receive comprehensive moisture and dust remediation education for the child's developmental process.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.