Elevated Blood Lead Levels by Length of Time From Resettlement to Health Screening in Kentucky Refugee Children

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Abstract

Objectives

To examine elevated blood lead levels (EBLLs) in refugee children by postrelocation duration with control for several covariates.

Methods

We assessed EBLLs (≥ 5µg/dL) between 2012 and 2016 of children younger than 15 years (n = 1950) by the duration of resettlement to health screening by using logistic regression, with control for potential confounders (gender, region of birth, age of housing, and intestinal infestation) in a cross-sectional study.

Results

Prevalence of EBLLs was 11.2%. Length of time from resettlement to health screening was inversely associated with EBLLs (tertile 2 unadjusted odds ratio [OR] = 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.56, 1.12; tertile 3 OR = 0.62; 95% CI = 0.42, 0.90; tertile 2 adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.62; 95% CI = 0.39, 0.97; tertile 3 AOR = 0.57; 95% CI = 0.34, 0.93). There was a significant interaction between intestinal infestation and age of housing (P < .003), indicating significant risk in the joint exposure of intestinal infestation (a pica proxy) and age of house.

Conclusions

Elevated blood lead levels were reduced with increasing length of time of resettlement in unadjusted and adjusted models. Improved housing, early education, and effective safe-house inspections may be necessary to address EBLLs in refugees.

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