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American Journal of Public Health Research. 2022, 10(3), 124-133
DOI: 10.12691/ajphr-10-3-5
Open AccessArticle

Environmental Injustice? Disparities in the Exposure to Environmental Lead Poisoning and Risks among Children in the Chicago Neighborhoods

Deidre White1 and Tekleab Gala1,

1Department of Geography, College of Arts and Sciences, Chicago State University 321 William Science Building, 9501S King Dr, Chicago, IL 60628, USA

Pub. Date: June 15, 2022

Cite this paper:
Deidre White and Tekleab Gala. Environmental Injustice? Disparities in the Exposure to Environmental Lead Poisoning and Risks among Children in the Chicago Neighborhoods. American Journal of Public Health Research. 2022; 10(3):124-133. doi: 10.12691/ajphr-10-3-5


Lead (Pb), the useful metal element of the natural environment, can be poisonous when it is absorbed by the body. In the United States, lead poisoning remains a major concern to children, especially in Chicago where still 1 out of every 6 children is affected. Therefore, the goal of this study is to evaluate the spatial distribution of aggregated children’s elevated BLLs in Chicago’s neighborhoods and its relationship with the social-economic, behavioral, and cognitive risk factors. Geovisualization, geospatial pattern analysis, and spatially-resolved spatial modeling tools built-in ArcGIS were used. Accordingly, significant geographical control of the BLLs was detected such that lower BLLs were detected in the central, northern, far northern, and southwestern sides of the city, while the higher BLLs were detected in the western, southern, and southwestern sides of the city (i.e., I = 0.34, permutation 999, and p-value 0.001). This distribution has shown statistically significant associations (i.e., R2 = 40 – 54; and P < 0.05), with the social-economic, behavioral, and cognitive variables, indicating the likelihood of incidences of violent crimes, poverty, minority, and lower students’ performances, in the higher BLLs areas. However, it is not clear if these factors’ associations imply causations to the higher/lower BLLs or vice versa. Therefore, further studies would be critical to establishing, how many of these associations are the causations.

lead poisoning Blood Lead Level (BLL) environmental injustice African American Children Chicago

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