Researchers look for lead paint 'hot spots'

Published: Sep. 8, 2015 at 11:08 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 8, 2015 at 11:15 PM EDT
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KENT, OH (WOIO) - A Kent State University researcher working with Akron Children's Hospital has identified the parts of the city of Akron where the most cases of lead poisoning in children are coming from.

Kent PhD candidate Laura Schuch used data from the medical records of children under the age of six who had been poisoned by lead.

"We looked at their addresses and did a process called geocoding, which is when you match up an address to a place on a map, and then from that, we did a hotspot analysis to figure out where these hotspots or clustering of events have occurred," Schuch described.

She also drove around the areas identified as hotspots in Akron, looking for at-risk properties that may contain lead.

Schuch also looked for vacant lots and places on properties where the soil may contain lead.

"One of the areas is the northern section of Akron, and then we've got some on the west side, and then also in the southern east," Schuch said.

Eventually, she hopes what she recorded can be used in a database for families.

"What I would love to see is a registry of positive spaces, spaces that are safe to give people who are looking to rent or buy a home knowledge of what homes are safe," added Schuch.

Parents will then be empowered to make better decisions that could save their children from a lifetime of learning disabilities or emotional problems, all problems associated with lead exposure.

If you live in a home built before 1978, or if you suspect your child has been exposed to lead, contact your pediatrician.

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