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Using a Geographic Information System to Improve Childhood Lead-Screening Efforts

Figure 1 consists of a high resolution map of a neighborhood in Ada County, Idaho, and housing density in relationship to the age homes were built. The figure depicts parcels of individual residences, the road network, and water bodies within this neighborhood. The highest concentration of older residences lies in the northeast corner of the figure. Concentric rings expanding from this corner indicate a gradually decreasing concentration of older residences, with the lowest concentration occurring in the southeastern corner of the figure.

Figure 1. A first step in understanding paint-based lead exposure risk in Ada County, Idaho. By using county tax assessor data, a point density map was created to identify hot-spots of housing structures built before 1950.

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Figure 2 depicts the portion of Ada County, Idaho, containing the census block groups with the highest lead risk priority levels and the relationship of Medicaid-enrolled children screened for lead. The largest cluster of high-priority block groups is located on the Eastern edge of the figure and falls within the city limits of Boise. All 27 priority level 1 (the highest priority level) block groups and 16 of the 17 priority level 2 block groups are in this cluster. A single priority level 2 block group is located on the western edge of the figure, directly opposite the cluster. Each priority level 1 and 2 block group indicates the percentage of Medicaid-enrolled children that have been screened for lead exposure. Thirty percent or less of Medicaid-enrolled children in each of these block groups have been screened for lead, and in 7 of the priority level 1 block groups only 6 percent or less of the Medicaid-enrolled children have been screened.

Figure 2. Based on household income and housing age variables, census block groups indicate the potential risk of exposure to lead-based paint. Geocoded Medicaid enrollment data specify the percentage of children screened for lead in areas with high potential for exposure (3,5,6).

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