Lead testing results show positive trend

2013's lead testing results are withing striking distance of Trail Area Health and Environment Committee's goal for 2015.

  • Jan. 20, 2014 11:00 a.m.

When the call went out last September by the Trail Area Health and Environment Committee (THEC) for another round of children’s blood lead testing the citizens of the Greater Trail area responded in force.

In a departure from its usual practice THEC expanded its sample base beyond the usual focus area of East Trail, West Trail, Tadanac, and Rivervale and reached out to the surrounding neighbourhoods and communities of Oasis, Casino, Waneta, Warfield, and Annable as well.

The results are in and they are promising.

At a Tuesday night meeting THEC presented the results of the 2013 children’s blood lead testing clinic which indicated that the average blood lead level for children aged six to 36 months in Trail and Rivervale is 4.9 µg/dL (micrograms per decilitre) with 93 per cent of children testing below 10 µg/dL.

These results are within striking distance of the program’s 2015 goal of an average of 4 µg/dL and 95 per cent of children testing below 10 µg/dL.

“The trend is moving in the right direction,” said Dr. Andrew Larder, senior medical health officer with Interior Health. “I congratulate everyone involved in the program.”

The results are particularly encouraging given that the participation rate in the 2013 clinic was large enough to provide solid data to base the results on.

This round between 70 and 75 per cent of the children in the target age groups and areas were involved in the testing.

“The Trail program made efforts to re-engage the community and it seems to be working,” said Larder. “People should be pleased with the work done by THEC, with everyone working together we’re seeing results. The important thing is continuing to see a downward trend.”

Having a larger proportion of the population available for testing also provided an opportunity to analyze the results in a more comprehensive manner.

After the previous round of testing in 2012 it appeared that the blood lead levels of children in Trail had plateaued, or stabilized, at levels that weren’t as encouraging given the desired 2015 goal.

Larder explained that the previous results had been somewhat skewed by the testing methods that were used to take the samples.

The 2013 results are based on venous samples only, meaning blood samples taken from a vein rather than a finger. Finger poke samples, known as capillary samples, have a greater risk of contamination. A review showed that over the 22-year history of children’s blood lead testing in Trail, capillary samples have had statistically higher lead levels than venous samples.

“With the results from this year we re-calibrated the results from the last 10 years from the venous samples only,” Larder said. “Since 2010 the proportion began to increase in capillary tests, although venous is the gold standard. We’re working with the prevention program at Interior Health to make changes to get the proportion lower. In future we’ll look at capillary samples separately from venous samples.”

Larder said that THEC, the information it gathers, and the working relationship between the partners — the local community, Teck, the Ministry of the Environment, and Interior Health — provides an excellent example of public health management.

“What makes this so wonderful is that the program is driving decisions Teck is making on a day to day basis,” he said. “This is having a direct impact on the health of the community.”

Just Posted

What you see …

If you have a recent photo to share email it to editor@trailtimes.ca

Storm the Stairs and Trail Kidney Walk this weekend

Grapevine: Events in the Trail area for the week of Sept. 20 to Sept. 26

Kootenay Robusters end 18th paddling season

Women of Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Christina Lake and Grand Forks came together in 2001

Military exercises may be audible in Trail

The exercises will be conducted in the Trail area from Thursday to Sunday

Council rollover inspires crop of hopeful politicians

Fourteen people vying for six council seats

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

‘Hero’ kid fighting cancer helping with B.C. Children’s Hospital fundraiser

Penticton’s Wills Hodgkinson helping raise funds for B.C. Children’s Hospital

Most Read