Children focus of new lead exposure study
Dr. Trevor Bell and Dr. David Allison.
A new project assessing environmental lead exposure will focus on children living in St. John’s. The project, a partnership between Memorial University of Newfoundland, Eastern Health, and Health Canada, plans to recruit 200 families in May and June to participate in the research study, which will take place through July and August 2010.
“Previous research has established that we do have lead in our environment from past use of leaded gasoline, paints and coal. We also know children are more vulnerable to harm from lead exposure,” said Dr. David Allison, Medical Officer of Health for Eastern Health and one of two principal investigators for the project.
“Our research will help us find out how much lead young children may have been exposed to by testing their blood for lead. We’ll also be testing the amount of lead in samples taken from inside and outside houses to understand how much lead a child may be exposed to in their home environment.”
Dr. Trevor Bell, Professor of Geography at Memorial University and the second principal investigator, said the project is targeting children aged six months to six years living in a range of pre- and post-1970 homes across the city.
“Children are the key in this project to establishing the link between blood lead levels and environmental lead exposure. With parents’ support, we can learn a lot from their children and help take steps for a healthier future.”
In addition to the project’s public awareness activities, Dr. Bell said the research team will recruit families to take part in the project by visiting a number of neighbourhoods where they are most likely to find children and houses in the targeted age ranges. These areas were identified through Canada Census information. The project staff will use a specially developed logo to identify the project and be recognizable to the homeowners.
Families in St. John’s interested in participating may contact the team by e-mail or telephone to see if they meet the criteria regarding the age of the family home and the age of the child or children. Participation in this project is completely voluntary and all test results will be kept confidential.
For more information about the research study, the public can contact the team by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), by telephone (737-3038) or visit the project website, www.LeadNL.ca.