Lead is a major environmental toxin that presents numerous health consequences for children. Refugee children are at a risk of lead poisoning post-resettlement due to urban housing and environmental inequalities stemming from lack of funding, legislation, and advocacy. This article addresses lead exposure upon arrival and post-resettlement in 705 refugee children (age 0–16 years) attending a university clinic in Syracuse, NY, a city with a large refugee population. 17% of the newly arrived children had elevated blood lead levels (BLLs) (≥ 5 µg/dL); 10% had elevated BLL upon follow-up; 8.3% of the children’s follow-up elevated BLL were new exposures. 30% were found to have increased BLL at follow-up regardless of arrival status. An analysis of new exposures found a significant proportion of children would have been missed on routine screening that targets children < 2 years old. Primary prevention efforts are needed to prevent exposure and address risks to improve the health of all children locally, including newly resettled refugees.
- Environmental inequalities
- Lead exposure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health