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WSU Access

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Shawn P. McElmurry


This study explored variations in child blood lead levels (BLLs) relative to street-side soil lead in Detroit, Michigan. Findings showed that average BLLs steadily decreased throughout Detroit from 2000 through 2009. Soil lead samples from 58 locations showed spatial continuity with a range of 1,000-1,500 feet and a relative nugget of 25-36%. Average BLLs over a US census tract were also found to be spatially continuous while individual BLLs were not, suggesting that individual BLLs may not be predictable by environmental variables. The equation previously developed by Mielke et al. (2007) predicting average BLLs based on soil lead concentrations observed in New Orleans, Louisiana was not found to accurately describe Detroit data. An alternative linear equation is proposed that describes average BLLs as a function of average soil lead concentrations. Additionally, results suggest that in some areas average BLLs may be decreasing concurrently with soil lead concentrations.

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