Final Report: Community-Based Research Project Identifying Residential Hazards Using Home Test Kits

EPA Grant Number: R829389C003
Subproject: this is subproject number 003 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R829389
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: CECEHDPR - University of Cincinnati Center for the Study of Prevalent Neurotoxicants in Children
Center Director: Lanphear, Bruce
Title: Community-Based Research Project Identifying Residential Hazards Using Home Test Kits
Investigators: Roda, Sandy
Institution: University of Cincinnati
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: November 1, 2001 through October 31, 2006
RFA: Centers for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Children's Health , Health Effects , Health


The purpose of this community-based participatory project was to help families and communities identify and reduce health risks from lead, pesticides and, other environmental hazards.  The CEHC partnered locally with the Better Housing League (BHL) and Baby’s Milk Fund in Cincinnati, Ohio, and nationally with the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, and the National Center for Lead Safe Housing.  

Residents and homeowners are restricted in their ability to determine whether lead and/or other hazards are present in their homes and in the soil and dust outside their homes.  Licensed lead inspectors are available, but expensive.  Many public health and housing departments are understaffed and unequipped for environmental sample testing.  Many older homes are not located in areas targeted or evaluated by research studies or lead programs.  Yet, lead based paint and other environmental toxicants are found primarily in older dwellings.  
Study participants were recruited from families whose children are cared for by physicians at the four Babies Milk Fund Clinics in the Cincinnati area.   All children younger than 5 years of age who had a venipuncture blood sample taken at the Babies Milk Fund Clinic after January 1, 2001 were reviewed, and their family considered for study recruitment.    The study sample was stratified into three groups according to blood lead concentration level.  Group 1 consisted of families whose child’s PbB was <5  mg/dL.  Group II consisted of children with a PbB  ³5 <10 and Group III consisted of children with a PbB of  ³10mg/dL.  Further, Group I and II were restricted to families who reside in housing built prior to 1978.  Those families in Group III had evidence of a hazardous home environment since their PbB was >10mg/dL. 
Stratification was used to enroll about 33% families whose child had a blood lead < 5mg/dL, 33% whose child had a blood lead between 5 and 10mg/dL, and 33% whose child had a blood >10mg/dL.  If a family was interested and met the study criteria, they were randomized to two groups.  Each participating family received directions for collecting environmental samples, one floor dust wipe for lead, and one floor dust wipe for pesticides.  The Control Group received only written instructions and the remaining families assigned to the Video Kit received both written and videotaped instructions, which allowed occupants a visual presentation on how and where to best collect samples.  Samples were collected over a one square foot area in the middle of a non-carpeted room, most frequently utilized by the child, using a disposable two-sided template.  After both samples were taken the area was delineated using a marker enclosed in the kit.  Samples were then placed into the kit box and kept until the time of a sampling technician’s visit.
The technician’s visit occurred within 3-5 days of the kit distribution.  At the technician’s visit an in-home visual inspection was conducted, followed by collection of samples in the room the technician identified as most appropriate.  If sampling occurred in the same room selected by the study participant, the sample was taken immediately east of the area marked by the participant.  For quality control houses, the technician’s samples were obtained from the area immediately west of the original samples or the midpoint of the western half of the room.  After technician sampling took place, he/she conducted an interview with the study participant to obtain additional demographic and residential information and, the families’ perception of the sample test kit. 
Blood samples for lead were analyzed by the Hematology and Environmental laboratories at the Kettering Laboratory at the University of Cincinnati.  Analysis of the wipe samples for lead was performed using the analytical method routinely used for dust wipe samples.  Samples for pesticide analysis were shipped to Battelle, in Columbus, Ohio a laboratory experienced in the analysis of wipe samples for pesticides. 
            Research Objectives
  • To evaluate a sampling kit and design a reliable method for families to screen their homes to assess levels of residential health hazards. 
  • To increase community awareness of the role of environmental agents in developmental disorders, hearing loss and school problems.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

There were 130 families with both a dust floor sample by a technician and a dust floor sample by a family member.  There were 63 families randomized to receive a video and 67 randomized to the written material only group.  For analysis purposes the dust lead and blood lead values were log transformed.  The family floor dust lead values were compared to the technician floor dust lead values for the proximal area of the same room: overall r=0.72, for the video group r=0.64 and for the non-video group r=0.79.  There correlations were all significantly greater than zero, but there was no difference between the video and non-video group for agreement between technician and family dust wipe samples.  Correlation between the technician dust lead and child blood lead level was 0.35, and between family dust lead and child blood lead level was 0.23, these were both different from zero, but not statistically significantly different from each other.  Similar results were found when the samples were divided by child age group, above and below 2 years. 


We conclude that families can adequately screen their housing units to identify lead hazards. 

Supplemental Keywords:

toxicology, ADHD, behavioral assessment, behavioral deficit, genetic susceptibility, pesticides, biomarkers, environmental agents, exposure, exposure assessment, hearing loss, lead, meconium, neurotoxicity, pesticide exposure, risk assessment, toxicants, lead-based paint, lead hazard control, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, Toxicology, Health Risk Assessment, Chemistry, Risk Assessments, Children's Health, Biology, Risk Assessment, hearing loss, lead, pesticides, behavioral assessment, children, neurotoxicity, human exposure, toxicity, home test kit, biological markers, exposure assessment, human health risk, biomarker

Relevant Websites:

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 2002
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • 2005 Progress Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R829389    CECEHDPR - University of Cincinnati Center for the Study of Prevalent Neurotoxicants in Children

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R829389C001 Neurobehavioral Effects of Prevalent Toxicants in Children
    R829389C002 Validation of Meconium Markers of Fetal Neurotoxicant Exposures
    R829389C003 Community-Based Research Project Identifying Residential Hazards Using Home Test Kits
    R829389C004 Early Exposure to Lead and Adult Antisocial Outcome
    R829389C005 Magnetic Resonance Assessment of Brain Function Altered by Lead Exposure