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Childhood Lead Poisoning and the Built Environment in Kansas City, Missouri, 2000-2013


This study examines relationships between pediatric lead poisoning and the built environment. Focusing on Kansas City, Missouri between the years 2000 and 2013 this dissertation informs policy options and identifies under-explored lines of inquiry related to pediatric lead poisoning. The dissertation extends the social surplus approach to economic modeling into a discussion of the production of pediatric lead poisoning. This dissertation grounds disparities in pediatric lead poisoning in an interdisciplinary context integrating biology, health effects, exposure pathways, social history, and economic theory into a research agenda. The original contribution of this dissertation is comprised of three interconnected parts: 1) the identification and assembly of an expansive data library for observing lead in the built environment, 2) the development of a warranted geocoding process to match 14 years of pediatric blood lead data to a parcel‐level geography which is inconsistent from year to year, 3) and exploratory empirical investigation of the assembled and associated geocoded data. Using a cross section of observational data, I estimate a series of ordinary least squares multiple regression models relating child, housing, and proximity focused explanatory variables to changes in the blood lead levels in children. The dissertation concludes with a consideration of public policies aimed at preventing pediatric lead poisoning and possible extensions of the assembled data.

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