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About the Project

In May 2010, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Eastern Health, and Health Canada began recruiting families with young children in St. John’s to participate in a research study assessing their exposure to lead.

Children aged six months to six years living in a range of homes built before and after 1970 across the city were canvassed. The research study measured children’s blood lead levels and will match them with environmental lead levels on their residential property to compare across several housing age groups in the city.

Overall, 250 children had blood lead testing along with the testing of soil, dust, water, and garden produce from their home. This sampling took place from August 2010 to October 2010.


Previous research has confirmed that we have lead in our environment from past use of leaded gasoline, paints and coal. In fact, St. John’s has one of the highest lead levels in the country although clinical lead poisoning is almost unknown.

We also know children are more vulnerable to harm from lead exposure. This latest research project will help us find out how much lead young children may have been exposed to by testing their blood for lead. We’ll also be testing the amount of lead in samples taken from inside and outside houses to understand how much lead a child may be exposed to in their home environment.

Children are the key in this project to establishing the link between blood lead levels and environmental lead exposure. With parents’ support, we can learn a lot from their children and help take steps for a healthier future.