Racial differences in urban children's environmental exposures to lead

Bruce P. Lanphear, Michael Weitztnan, Shirley Eberly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives. This study explored whether differences in environmental lead exposures explain the racial disparity in children's blood lead levels. Methods. Environmental sources of lead were identified for a random sample of 172 urban children. Results. Blood lead levels were significantly higher among Black children. Lead-contamination of dust was higher in Black children's homes, and the condition of floors and interior paint was generally poorer. White children were more likely to put soil in their mouths and to suck their fingers, whereas Black children were more likely to put their mouths on window sills and to use a bottle. Major contributors to blood lead were interior lead exposures for Black children and exterior lead exposures for White children. Conclusions. Differences in housing conditions and exposures to lead-contaminated house dust contribute strongly to the racial disparity in urban children's blood lead levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1460-1463
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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