There are limited data on the nature of environmental lead hazards identified during residential inspections for child blood lead levels (BLLs) of less than 10 μg/dL. We compare inspection findings for child BLLs of 5 to 9 μg/dL versus 10 μg/dL or more.
We reviewed inspection reports in Maine from September 2016 to March 2018. We used continuity-adjusted or Fisher's exact test for categorical variables and Wilcoxon rank-sum tests for continuous variables to compare differences in child, family, household, and lead hazard characteristics between BLL categories (5-9 μg/dL vs ≥10 μg/dL). We used Spearman correlation coefficients to assess relationships between home surface lead dust measurements and BLLs.
Of 351 residential inspections, 272 (77%) were for children with BLLs of 5 to 9 μg/dL. Children with BLLs of 5 to 9 μg/dL as compared with children with BLLs of 10 μg/dL or more were less likely to chew window sills and door frames (8% vs 21%; P = .01), but otherwise were similar with respect to other established risk factors for lead poisoning. Children with BLLs of 5 to 9 μg/dL tended to have fewer paint hazards inside their homes (64% vs 78%; P = .03), and they were more likely to have dust-only hazards (8% vs 3%) or no identified lead paint hazards (23% vs 15%), though these differences were not statistically significant. For children with BLLs of 5 to 9 μg/dL, BLL was weakly correlated with average window sill dust level (Spearman r = 0.16; P = .01) and average floor dust level (r = 0.13; P = .03), but these correlations were not observed for children with BLLs of 10 μg/dL and higher.
We have found that inspections of homes of children with BLLs of 5 to 9 μg/dL are nearly as likely to identify lead hazards that require abatement as inspections of homes of children with BLLs of 10 μg/dL.