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Addressing Health Inequities in South Chattanooga: Lead Contamination and Childhood Lead Poisoning
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1  University of Tennessee at Chattanooga


Soil lead contamination is an environmental health risk that greatly affects children in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Southside Chattanooga Lead Superfund Site was added to the National Priorities List in late 2018 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has designated the clean-up threshold for soil lead contamination to be equal to or over 360 parts per million. For the EPA to conduct soil testing and proceed with clean-up, a signed access authorization letter from the tenant or property owner must be submitted. As of May 7, 2019, there are still 4371 properties to test with an estimated 1100 expected to be above the remediation threshold. Despite mailing the letters and having several public meetings, the rate of return is approximately thirty percent for access authorization forms. To increase the response rate, local non-profit agencies, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) Lions Club, and the UTC Master’s in Public Health program have been involved in educating the community. Efforts include community health fairs, grant funded community-based blood lead testing for children, and a door-to-door canvassing campaign where residents are informed of the issue, provided with educational materials, and asked to sign and return access authorization letters to the EPA. The impact of community engagement is measured by the number/proportion of residents engaged, the number of signed authorization forms submitted, and the number of children tested for elevated blood lead levels. This poster presentation will discuss lead contamination in Chattanooga, and the results of our engagement work in the community.

Keywords: lead, child, poisoning, contamination, environment, inequity, health, blood, Southside, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Comments on this paper
Jayshree Rajbhandary
Comment; Addressing Health Inequities in South Chattanooga
With just one child out of ten children had an elevated blood lead level above the 5 µg/dL. With this data where 90% of the children had normal BLL, how can it be claimed that the that current methods utilized by the EPA and state agencies to educate residents about environmental hazards may not be working ?
Dawn Ford
We have just begun offered blood lead screening, so the sample size is very small. There are an estimated 5,000 properties that are contaminated so many more children should be screened to get a better estimate.

Jesmine Khan
Lead level
I am curious to know he method for estimation of blood lead level. Is there ant kit available for that? Is the blood taken by finger prick or venous blood was collected?
Dawn Ford
This is a fingerprick screening. We have the LeadCare II machine to do the blood lead test.

Jesmine Khan
Lead level
Thanks for the reply.
Hope all the best for your project.