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Maricopa County To Analyze Child Lead Levels, Public Housing Data

Maricopa County Health experts hope a new analysis of health and housing data will help officials better understand childhood lead poisoning.

The county health department already can access information about young children who have high levels of lead in their blood.

“The Academy of Pediatrics recommends lead blood level testing at the age of one and two, but there’s not always follow up in terms of what might be causing the elevated lead levels,” said Denise Voiles, the Office of Family Health nurse supervisor.

One factor that can cause elevated lead levels in the blood is a child’s home environment.

That’s why the county will start comparing the addresses of young children with elevated lead levels in different addresses to public housing data.

“Then we can report that back to the housing authorities to follow up,” Voiles said.

Elevated lead levels in the home can be remediated.

Voiles said the new analysis should start within a month.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors last week approved data sharing agreements with Phoenix and Chandler.

There are no Chandler public housing units with lead-based paint on the walls, said the city’s Housing and Redevelopment Manager Amy Jacobson.

But families who receive Section 8 housing vouchers live in homes managed by private landlords.

“I think it’s just important the public understands the necessity to educate families if they’re living in homes pre-1978 that they notify their landlord immediately if there’s any issues they’re seeing in their home,” Jacobson said.

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Mariana Dale rustles up stories as a senior field correspondent based out of KJZZ’s East Valley Bureau in Tempe. She’s followed a microphone onto cattle ranches, to the Dominican Republic and many places in between. Dale believes in a story’s strength to introduce us to diverse perspectives, inspire curiosity and hold public leaders accountable for their actions. She started at KJZZ on the digital team in 2016 and still spends a lot of time thinking about how to engage with our community online. Dale has learned from stints at Arizona Public Media, The Arizona Daily Star, The Arizona Republic and as an intern at NPR’s Morning Edition in Culver City. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Dale is grateful for the mentoring of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, the Chips Quinn Scholars program and AIR’s New Voices Scholars. A desert native, she loves spending time outside hiking, tending to her cactus and reading.