Dr. Bill Kincaid, the City’s Health director, tells me that one of the most stubborn opponents in the war against lead poisoning in St. Louis is a lack of awareness by some parents and other care-givers of the sorts of things — chipped paint, soil, candy wrappers, toys, jewelry — that can lead to elevated blood levels in children.
That’s why education and outreach are such important elements in the City’s commitment to end childhood lead poisoning. Besides direct contacts by our staffers and partners, our Lead Safe St. Louis program is using targeted TV, radio, buses, bus shelter and billboard ads to promote both childhood testing opportunities and our home inspection and remediation assistance programs.
The effort has produced results: more abatements are being performed before children are poisoned; and that, in turn, has resulted in a smaller rate of elevated blood levels. We have a way to go, but we’ve made measurable progress in the battle.The percentage of children testing above ten micrograms per deciliter (ug/dl) for elevated blood lead levels (EBL) is trending down — 13.6 percent (2003) to 7.7 percent (2006)Sixty-one percent of the home lead inspections done by the City so far this year were performed proactivelyThe total number of home lead inspections has increased from 405 in 2003 to more than 900 projected for 2006The total number of lead contaminated homes remediated has increased from 329 in 2003 to 1212 in 2005Almost half of the homes remediated between 2004 and 2006 were in the City’s five highest risk ZIP codes