Policy and Community Partnerships as Public Health Management Tools for Childhood Lead Poisoning

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International Public Health Journal

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Nova Science Publishers





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The gradual decline in childhood lead poisoning in the United States is widely regarded as a public health accomplishment. Yet, a significant number of children under the age of six years in the United States continue to be poisoned by lead paint each year. New England residents face a greater risk of lead poisoning due to the area’s older housing stock containing lead paint. Primary prevention methods that eliminate the potential risk for disease or disability have focused on addressing housing as the main source of lead exposure. However, primary prevention methods with respect to housing, such as lead abatement, although cost effective in the long term, are often prohibitively expensive in the short term. We highlight health policy and academic-community partnerships as two potential complementary tools to assist in the management of this persistent, complex public health issue that affects numerous, diverse communities across the country. The former tool may integrate educational policy, housing policy, and occupational policy to achieve protection of a vulnerable population. The latter tool calls upon the knowledge, expertise, and resources of academic and community partners to develop interventions that are tailored to the community’s identified needs. Previous work and issues for consideration regarding each of these approaches is presented. Furthermore, although the public health management tools described are based in work conducted in New England, we propose that they can serve as models for other communities who are working to address childhood lead poisoning, especially in a time of budget and resource constraints.

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