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Immigration and Risk of Childhood Lead Poisoning: Findings From a Case-Control Study of New York City Children *

Objectives. We investigated whether foreign birthplace and residence were associated with an increased risk of childhood lead poisoning.

Methods. We conducted a matched case–control study among New York City children (mean age=3 years) tested for lead poisoning in 2002 (n=203 pairs). Children were matched on age, date of test, and residential area. Blood lead and housing data were supplemented by a telephone survey administered to parents or guardians. Conditional logistic regression analysis was used to examine the relationship of lead poisoning status to foreign birthplace and time elapsed since most recent foreign residence after adjustment for housing and behavioral risk factors.

Results. Both foreign birthplace and time since most recent foreign residence had strong adjusted associations with lead poisoning status, with children who had lived in a foreign country less than 6 months before their blood test showing a particularly elevated risk of lead poisoning relative to US-born children with no foreign residential history before their blood test (odds ratio [OR]=10.9; 95% confidence interval [CI]=3.3, 36.5).

Conclusions. Our findings demonstrate an increased risk of lead poisoning among immigrant children.


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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 11-20-2009
Authors: Parisa Tehranifar, DrPH, Jessica Leighton, PhD, Amy H. Auchincloss, PhD, MPH, Andrew Faciano, MPH, Howard Alper, PhD, Andrea Paykin, PhD and Songmei Wu, DrPH
Source: American Journal of Public Health January 2008, Vol 98, No. 1, p. 92-97