Guide to the Allegheny County, Pa. Health Department Lead Survey Records, 1971-1975 AIS.1990.14

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Allegheny County, Pa. Health Department Lead Survey Records
Creator
Allegheny County (Pa.). Health Department.
Collection Number
AIS.1990.14
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1974-1975
Date [inclusive]
1971-1975
Extent
28.75 linear feet
Abstract
The Allegheny County Health Department Lead Survey, 1971-1975, was part of a nationwide effort to identify and treat cases of lead poisoning in preschool children and to remove environmental lead hazards from their homes. The Lead Survey records consist of the Administrative series (correspondence within the department and with external agencies, grant applications, records of expenses, notes on department meetings, lead testing procedures, and equipment), the Blood Lead series (individuals’ blood lead test results and summaries of the data), and the Environmental Lead Abatement series (lead test results for individual addresses and composite data per region).

Preferred Citation

Allegheny County, Pa. Health Department Lead Survey Records, 1971-1975, AIS.1990.14, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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History

The Allegheny County, Pa. Health Department Lead Survey Records span the years 1971 to 1975. It represents an early stage in the ongoing nationwide effort to improve children’s well being by eradicating unhealthful amounts of lead in their surroundings and bodies. Although it later became part of the national blood lead survey, Allegheny County’s Lead Survey began as a pilot study of a local blighted neighborhood. Tests of the neighborhood’s children showed that they had lower levels of lead exposure than their peers in other cities. Health Department officials sought to determine if the relatively low incidence of lead poisoning occurred because health care providers were not looking for it or because the Allegheny County children’s lives were somehow different from those of their counterparts in other cities. As explained in the Allegheny County Health Department‘s March 1, 1972 Lead Poisoning Control Program book (pages 3-4), “These questions concern us, and provide the basis for our interest in establishment of a lead poisoning control project in Allegheny County...” to gain answers and “provide ...effective lead poisoning detection.”

The Allegheny County Lead Survey project was performed under the leadership of Dr. Albert H. Brunwasser, with Drs. Penn Lupovic, Roger Juselius, and Richard Moriarty, assisted by Robert Kambic, Janet Bonk, nurses, laboratory personnel, and teams of paraprofessional workers who were recruited from local communities and trained in survey methods. The Health Department continued to assess and document lead levels in children’s blood and in their homes through 1975, when funding was discontinued. Although the Braddock, Hill District, Homestead, Homewood-Brushton, North Braddock, North Side-Manchester, Rankin, Turtle Creek Valley, and Wilkinsburg neighborhoods were surveyed, some areas of the County had not been studied at the program’s conclusion, and the reason for the lower-than-expected blood lead levels does not appear to have been found.

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Scope and Content Notes

The records of the Allegheny County, Pa. Health Department Lead Survey date from 1971 to 1975. This collection falls into three main series: Administrative records, Blood Lead data, and Environmental Lead Abatement data.

The Administrative series affords an overview of the entire project through grant applications, correspondence, reports and publications, and notes on environmental lead testing equipment. Blood lead data makes up most of the collection, in amounts varying by year collected, rising to a 1974 peak. The Blood Lead series also includes permission slips, patient records (case files, index cards), and summaries of data. The Environmental Lead Abatement Data includes documentation on individual residences and summaries of this data grouped by census tract, street, and zip code.

All three series make reference to the “N.B.S.” This abbreviation stands for the National Bureau of Standards, whose personnel advised the administrators of local blood lead surveys during this period.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, August 2005

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Access Restrictions

This collection is for statistical use only. Qualified researchers shall make special application in writing to the Head of the Archives Service Center requesting access to the Records of the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Health Department Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Project OR "Requests for use of the records shall be made in writing to the Chief of Biostatistics of the Allegheny County Health Department".

Copyright

All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Allegheny County Health Department, on October 9, 1991.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Donnis Headley in August 2005.

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Related Materials

Related Material

The following four publications are available through the University Library System: Allegheny County Health Department Lead Based Paint Survey Manual. Pittsburgh, Pa.: Allegheny County Health Department.

Allegheny County Health Department Lead Poisoning Control Program. Pittsburgh, Pa.: Allegheny County Health Department, 1972.

Increased Lead Absorption and Lead Poisoning in Young Children: A Statement by the Center for Disease Control. U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Public Health Service. March 1975.

Lin-Fu, Jane S. Childhood Lead Poisoning…an Eradicable Disease. Reprinted by the U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare, Health Services and Mental Health Administration, Maternal and Child Health Service, from Children, January-February 1970, No. 1, 2-9.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Allegheny County (Pa.). Health Department.
  • Pennsylvania. Bureau of Community Environmental Control.
  • Pittsburgh (Pa.). Code Enforcement Advisory Committee.
  • Southwestern Pennsylvania Regional Planning Commission.
  • United States. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
  • United States. National Bureau of Standards.

Genre(s)

  • Correspondence
  • Questionnaires
  • Surveys (Documents)

Geographic Name(s)

  • Allegheny County (Pa.)
  • Braddock (Pa.)
  • Clairton (Pa.)
  • East Pittsburgh (Pa.)
  • Hill District (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • Homestead (Pa.)
  • Homewood (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • Manchester (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • McKeesport (Pa.)
  • North Braddock (Pa.)
  • North Side (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • Oakland (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • Pitcairn (Pa.)
  • Turtle Creek (Pa.)
  • Wilkinsburg (Pa.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Bonk, Janet
  • Brunwasser, Albert H.
  • Juselius, Roger
  • Kambic, Robert
  • Lupino, Penn
  • Moriarty, Richard

Subject(s)

  • Environment
  • Government
  • Health and medicine
  • Lead -- Toxicology -- Research -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County
  • Lead abatement -- Research -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County
  • Lead poisoning -- Research -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County

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Previous Citation

Allegheny County, Pa. Health Department Lead Survey Records, 1971-1975, AIS.1990.14, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

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Collection Inventory

Series  I. Administrative 

Scope and Content Notes

This series includes correspondence, quarterly and monthly reports, publications, grant applications, office management documents (memos, bills for supplies), subject files, and environmental lead abatement documents. The grant applications in Box 3, FF 7-10 provide an overview of the project, as does the Allegheny County Lead Poisoning Control Program publication in Box 3, FF 30, which may be compared to the County’s Lead Hazard Procedures and Project Retrospective publication (Box 3, FF 34), and the March 12, 1975 computer-generated ACHD-NBS Report of encoded data in Box 4. Also of interest are Box 1, FF 19 (a May 2, 1975 letter on hemoglobin and blood lead levels) and FF 24 (“Body Lead Kinetics”), which indicate possible alternative analyses for lead survey data.

  BoxFolder
Contracts, undated 11-3
  Folder
Correspondence, 1971-1975 4-22
  Folder
Data handling, undated 23-25
  Folder
Employee-related, undated 26-31
  Folder
Publicity, undated 32
  Folder
Reports, monthly, 1972-1974 33-46
  Folder
System for doing quarterly reports, worksheets, undated 47
  BoxFolder
Reports,  1972-1975 21
  Folder
NBS work estimates and weekly reports, September 1974-January 1975 2
  Folder
Reports, quarterly, 1972-1975 3-6
  Folder
Report: NBS progress statement, undated 7
  Folder
Results of meeting with HUD, WBS, ACHD, GSPH, 1975 8
  Folder
Subject files, undated 9-16
  Folder
Supplies ordered, undated 17-21
  Folder
Budget uniform invoices, undated 22
  Folder
Billing from Children's Hospital, 1973-1975 23
  Folder
Billing from Clinical Pathology Laboratory, January-December 1974 24-33
  Folder
Bills and invoices from Clinical Pathology Laboratory, February-July 1975 34-39
  Folder
Lab accounting sheets (pigs' bloods), 1974-1975 40
  Folder
Billing from Iron City University and Towel, undated 41
  BoxFolder
Environmental lead abatement action taken, undated 31-6
  Folder
Grant applications, 1972-1976 7-10
  Folder
Forms, undated 11-14
  Folder
Lead detector use and testing, undated 15-26
  Folder
Lead paint poisoning control programs, Chicago and Philadelphia, undated 27-28
  Folder
Legal action taken, undated 29
  Folder
Publications by Allegheny County Health Department, National Bureau of Standards (NBS), Bureau of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW), undated 30-37
  BoxFolder
Encoded data, undated 41-3
  Folder
Encoded data-based ACHD-NBS Report, March 12, 1975 4

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Series  II. Blood Lead 

Scope and Content Notes

The bulk of raw data in this series consists of blood lead test results obtained by “micro-atomic absorption techniques (fingerstick).” These are referred to as “Micros” throughout the Lead Survey Collection documents. As stated on page 5 of the Allegheny County Health Department publication Lead Poisoning Control Program (found in box 3, the Administrative Series), these lead test results were interpreted as follows: 45 micrograms per 100 milliliters of whole blood (45 micrograms percent) will be interpreted as indicating exposure, with at least further observation warranted; 65 micrograms percent warrants close medical supervision; and 85 micrograms percent indicates lead poisoning and warrants immediate treatment. (Note: these critical blood-lead levels are of greater magnitude than the levels suggested by the Surgeon General because local experience has shown that an upward adjustment of 5 micrograms percent is necessary when the micro technique is used).

When lead exposure was noted, “further macro studies” (page 19, Lead Poisoning Control Program) were conducted. These are identified as “Macros” in the Lead Survey Collection. The “Child Health Conferences” mentioned in Box 16 contain appointments with Lead Study nurses to which parents brought their children. The Child Health Conference appointments, held at regional community centers, replaced the home visits made by Lead Study nurses at the beginning of the program. Box 17 consists of case files, and all but one, labeled “Industrial,” are for children suffering from lead poisoning. The numbered case files begin with “#0000016”, and with “#9000001.”

  Box
Permission slips, alphabetized, undated 5-7
  BoxFolder
Braddock, cases 1-28, undated 81
  Folder
Combined housing and blood lead tests conducted by CMU students, 1972-1973 2
  Folder
Lab and permission slips normal micro, 1972 3-6
  Folder
Office copies normal and abnormal micro, 1972 7
  Folder
Lab and permission slips normal micro, January-October 1973 8-19
  BoxFolder
Lab copies and permission slips normal micro, August-December 1973 91-3
  Folder
Lab copies and permissions slips abnormal micro, February-October 1973 4-5
  Folder
Lab copies and permission slips abnormal micro and abnormal macro class III, January-September 1973 6
  Folder
Lab copies and permission slips normal macro, February-October 1973 7
  Folder
Office copies normal micro, July-December 1973 8-9
  Folder
preschool children not tested, 1973 10
  Folder
Federal and lab copies normal micro, January, April-June 1974 11-12
  Folder
Federal copies initial, normal micro, April-August 1974 13-20
  BoxFolder
Federal copies normal micro, May-September 1974 101-10
  Folder
Federal copies normal micro ("duplicate forms not listed as duplicate on printouts"), July-September 1974 11
  Folder
Federal copies normal micro, August-December 1974 12-22
  BoxFolder
Federal copies normal micro, November-December 1974 111-2
  Folder
Federal copies normal and abnormal micro, September-December 1974 3
  Folder
federal copies repeat micro, September-December 1974 4
  Folder
Federal copies normal and abnormal micro, October-December 1974 5-6
  Folder
Lab copies normal micro, January-April 1974 7-18
  Folder
Lab copies normal and abnormal micro, January-March 1974 19
  Folder
Federal and lab micro: normal, abnormal, repeat, January-June 1974 20
  BoxFolder
Federal and lab copies normal and abnormal microa and macro, January-April 1974 121-2
  Folder
Federal and lab copies normal macro, March-July 1974 3
  Folder
Lab copies Normal micro May 1974, abnormal micro May-June and November 1974, federal and lab copies normal and abnormal macro third quarter 1974, 1974 4
  Folder
Federal copies normal and abnormal macro, October, December 1974 5
  Folder
Federal copies initial macro, November-December 1974 6
  Folder
Office copies normal micro, January-March 1974 7-16
  BoxFolder
Office copies normal micro, March-December 1974 131-17
  BoxFolder
Federal and office copies normal micro, January 1875 141
  Folder
Federal copies normal micro, January-March 1975 2-12
  BoxFolder
Federal copies normal micro, February-April 1975 151-5
  Folder
Federal copies normal, rescreen, repeat, April-June 1975 6
  Folder
Federal copies abnormal micro (40-49), January 1975 7
  Folder
Federal copies initial and repeat micro, January 1975 8
  Folder
Federal copies initial and repeat abnormals, April-June 1975 9
  Folder
Federal copies micro rescreen, repeat abnormal and macro rescreen, repeat normal, April-May 1975 10
  Folder
Federal copies micro rescreen, repeat normal and macro initial and repeat, June 1975 11
  Folder
All bloods drawn, 1972/1973 12-16
  Folder
All bloods drawn, request numbers 6-9 and 12, 1973 17-21
  Folder
All bloods drawn in alphabetical order by name of phlebotomist, 1973-1974 22-30
  BoxFolder
Blood leads grouped by neighborhood, undated 161-7
  Folder
All bloods drawn, request numbers 6-9 and 1291-1614, 1974 8-12
  Folder
All bloods drawn in alphabetical order by name of phlebotomist, 1974-1975 13-18
  Folder
Clinical pathology results, March-December 1975 19-23
  Folder
Clinic control rosters, 1973-1974 24-29
  Folder
Clinic schedules, 1973 30
  Folder
School lead testing, 1973 31
  Folder
Child health conferences, 1974 32-34
  Folder
Child health conferences, 1974-1975 35-48
  BoxFolder
Case files without case numbers, undated 171-14
  Folder
Numbered case files: #0000016-0000022, #9000001-9100085, undated 15-96

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Series  III. Environmental Lead Abatement 

Scope and Content Notes

The Environmental Lead Abatement Data includes evidence of census ranking to select areas to be surveyed, and site surveys of facilities and homes (arranged by census tract, street, zip code, year, and survey team). Box 18 also contains one file on the 1973 Christmas Toy Survey (analysis of lead content of purchased toys) and two files containing analyses of facilities for children, apparently completed at the institutions’ request.

  BoxFolder
Census tract ranking for lead sampling,  undated 181-5
  Folder
Survey Areas, McKeesport and North Side, undated 6
  Folder
Surveys of Buildings #1-43 in Hawkins Village, Rankin, Pa., 1973 7-48
  Folder
Surveys of Buildings #1-12 in Mapleview Terrace, Braddock, Pa., 1973 49-60
  Folder
Surveys of Buildings #1-11 in Prospect Terrace, East Pittsburgh, Pa., 1973 61-71
  Folder
Surveys of Talbot Towers Buildings A-E, 1973 72-76
  Folder
Macro Survey, 1973 77
  Folder
522 Tenth St., Pitcairn, Pa., 1973 78
  Folder
Notes, 1973 79
  Folder
Surveys of lead-poisoned children's residences, 1972-1973 80
  Folder
Homes surveyed but blood tests refused for resident children, undated 81
  Folder
Soil and water surveys, June 1973 82
  Folder
Surveys grouped by census and zip codes, 1974 83
  Folder
Team lead housing reports, tallies, 1974-1975 84-87
  Folder
Christmas toy survey, 1973 88
  Folder
Public facilities surveys, undated 89-90
  Folder
Clairton-Blair Heights survey, 1973 91
  BoxFolder
Dwelling unit surveys in census tracts #306-371, undated 191-6
  Folder
Dwelling unit surveys grouped by first letter of street name, A-W,Y,Z, undated 7-32
  Box
Mailing materials (appointment cards, envelopes - addressed, not sent), undated 20-23

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