Trail Lead Study Report (1990)

Program Research, Reports

This study was conducted by the University of BC in Trail in 1989. The researchers sampled the blood of Trail children aged 2-6 years and found that, although the average had declined from approximately 22 micrograms per decilitre (µg/dL) in 1975 to approximately 14 µg/dL in 1989, this indicated that blood lead levels in Trail were still significantly higher than those in most other locations. At the time, health agency guidance for the level of lead in children’s blood was expected to be lowered in the next several years, and it was anticipated that this might result in a situating where a substantial proportion of local children might exceed a new “level of concern”. The 1989 study found that children tended to have higher blood lead levels in neighbourhood nearest to the smelter, and that soil and house dust lead concentrations were the principal determinants of high blood lead in Trail children. The researchers recommended that additional information and advice on lead exposure avoidance be provided to families with young children and that blood lead testing be conducted annually. They also urge intensive study of the Trail environment, particularly of the nature and extent of lead contamination in soils, and careful consideration of which environmental remediation actions (such as soil removal and replacement) would be most likely to be effective, and in which order they should be undertaken.