A comparison of costs of universal versus targeted lead screening for young children.

Versión para impresión
TítuloA comparison of costs of universal versus targeted lead screening for young children.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Año de publicación1999
AutoresRolnick, S. J., Nordin J., and Cherney L. M.
JournalEnvironmental research
Date Published1999 Jan
Publication Languageeng

The purposes of this study were to compare universal blood lead screening for young children versus targeting by a risk assessment questionnaire and to examine the cost implications of each approach. Costs reflect the total number of blood tests required and cost of specimen collection, handling, and testing per elevated case. The setting included the metropolitan areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Children (N=9603) from 17 community organizations had blood tests. In addition, each child's parent or guardian completed a questionnaire assessing potential risk for lead poisoning. Four different screening approaches are presented. Each screening approach is presented with associated costs of overall screening and cost per child identified at blood levels of >/=10 microg/dl (N=1140) and >/=15 microg/dl (N=317). Based on the screening strategy selected and an estimate of $17 per blood test, total screening costs ranged from $91,596 to $165,945. The cost per child identified with elevated lead levels ranged from $361 to $523 at >/=15 and $105 to $146 at >/=10. Nine to 13% of children would not have been detected by policies other than universal screening. A geographically based approach was able to detect 90% of children with elevated blood levels at two-thirds the cost of universal screening. Blood tests would be taken for all children living within city limits. Those residing elsewhere would be tested only if answers to questionnaire items pertaining to age of housing, prior history of lead poisoning, or eating paint chips indicated risk. The new CDC guidelines suggest that screening be based on an assessment of housing, population demographics, and community risk and resources. This paper presents such an assessment.

Alternate JournalEnviron. Res.