Environmental Injustice: Childhood Lead Poisoning, Teen Pregnancy, and Tobacco

Sandra D. Lane, Noah J. Webster, Brooke A. Levandowski, Robert A. Rubinstein, Robert H. Keefe, Martha A. Wojtowycz, Donald A. Cibula, Johanna E.F. Kingson, Richard H. Aubry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study investigates the persistent relationships between childhood lead exposure, repeat teen pregnancy, and tobacco use in a sample of teenage females in Syracuse, NY. Methods: We analyzed the association of childhood lead poisoning with repeat pregnancy and tobacco use among 536 teens (aged 15-19 years) in Syracuse, NY, who received services at Syracuse Healthy Start between 1998 and 2002. Results: The mothers' childhood lead exposure, controlling for race, age, and Medicaid status, was associated with repeat teen pregnancy and tobacco use. Conclusion: Long-term negative health outcomes associated with childhood lead exposure should not be underestimated. This study helps to shore up prior research that found lead poisoning to have a long-lasting impact on children's functioning and healthy development. Policy efforts focused on neighborhood development and health education continue to be sorely needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-49
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Environmental injustice
  • Health disparities
  • Lead poisoning
  • Smoking
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Tobacco use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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