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Open AccessArticle

Children’s Blood Lead Seasonality in Flint, Michigan (USA), and Soil-Sourced Lead Hazard Risks

Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Remediation (EnSuRe), School of Science, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, PO Box 71, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia
Department of Earth Sciences and Center for Urban Health, Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
Department of Family Medicine, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, Flint, MI 48502, USA
Department of Pharmacology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 358;
Received: 5 February 2016 / Revised: 18 March 2016 / Accepted: 21 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lead: Risk Assessment and Health Effects)
In Flint; MI; USA; a public health crisis resulted from the switching of the water supply from Lake Huron to a more corrosive source from the Flint River in April 2014; which caused lead to leach from water lines. Between 2010 and 2015; Flint area children’s average blood lead patterns display consistent peaks in the third quarter of the year. The third quarter blood lead peaks displayed a declining trend between 2010 and 2013; then rose abruptly between the third quarters of 2013 from 3.6% blood lead levels ≥5 µg/dL to a peak of about 7% in the third quarter of 2014; an increase of approximately 50%. The percentage of blood lead level ≥5 µg/dL in the first quarter of 2015 then dropped to 2.3%; which was the same percentage as the first quarter of 2014 (prior to the Flint River water source change). The Flint quarterly blood lead level peak then rose to about 6% blood lead levels ≥ 5 µg/dL in the third quarter of 2015; and then declined to about 2.5% in the fourth quarter of 2015. Soil lead data collected by Edible Flint food collaborative reveal generally higher soil lead values in the metropolitan center for Flint; with lower values in the outskirts of the city. The questions that are not being asked is why did children’s blood lead levels display a seasonal blood lead pattern before the introduction of the new water supply in Flint; and what are the implications of these seasonal blood lead patterns? Based upon previous findings in Detroit and other North American cities we infer that resuspension to the air of lead in the form of dust from lead contaminated soils in Flint appears to be a persistent contribution to lead exposure of Flint children even before the change in the water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. View Full-Text
Keywords: Flint; water; lead exposure; soil; seasonality; blood lead; lead poisoning Flint; water; lead exposure; soil; seasonality; blood lead; lead poisoning
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Laidlaw, M.A.; Filippelli, G.M.; Sadler, R.C.; Gonzales, C.R.; Ball, A.S.; Mielke, H.W. Children’s Blood Lead Seasonality in Flint, Michigan (USA), and Soil-Sourced Lead Hazard Risks. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 358.

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