(HealthDay News) − A program that inspects the homes of high-risk pregnant women for lead and remediates them is effective in reducing lead levels and lead poisoning in their children.

Noting that St. Louis historically did not address lead in the home until after children tested positive for lead poisoning, Daniel R. Berg, MD, MPH, from Family Care Health Centers in St. Louis, and colleagues conducted home inspections for lead for 152 pregnant women in a predominantly African-American area of St. Louis and remediated lead hazards in 62.5% of homes.

After comparing blood lead levels in 60 treated children and 120 control children, the researchers found that average blood lead levels were significantly lower for the treated children (2.70 versus 3.73µg/dL). None of the treated children had lead levels greater than 10µg/dL − the government definition of lead poisoning − compared with 4.2% of control children, though this did not reach statistical significance.

“Screening and remediation of houses of pregnant women is effective to reduce the average blood-lead level and number of children that exceed the federal level of concern for lead poisoning in a high-risk population,” Berg and colleagues conclude.

Full Text