Researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis say children in urban areas are more affected by sources of lead outside the home than lead paint, according to a release. The study points to an increase in dust levels in summer months, which appears to expose children playing outside to higher levels of lead.
The IUPUI team used Detroit as their city of focus because data there on air quality and health records were readily accessible. Looking at data spanning nine years, the effects were confirmed through lead levels in blood samples taken from more than 367,000 children. An increase in the levels was found to occur commonly each year in July, August and September.
The researchers say other studies in Indianapolis, New Orleans and Syracuse, N.Y. had similar results, indicating that the primary source for lead poisoning in urban children is most likely airborne dust, not lead-based paint. Results of the Detroit study are published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Environmental Science and Technology.