Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Andrew F. Smith, SM, ScD

Second Advisor

Elise Bolda, PhD

Keywords

lead, Maine water systems, lead exposure, children, Integrated Exposure Uptake Biokinetic, Maine Center for Disease Control, Muskie School of Public Service

Abstract

The concentration of lead in Maine’s public drinking water was evaluated from 4,700 first-draw water samples collected from 358 Maine Community Water systems. Samples collected from 2012-2015 were obtained by request from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (MeCDC)’s Drinking Water Program.

Exposure and physiological uptake of lead can be mathematically modelled or predicted based on the amount of lead in “background” sources of contaminated media such as soil, dust, water, air or dietary items; the better the characterization of lead in these media, the better the exposure predictions. To assess childhood lead exposure, EPA recommends using the Integrated Exposure Uptake Biokinetic (IEUBK) model (EPA, 1994a,b). The IEUBK model either allows public health agencies, such as MeCDC’s Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) Program, to input site-specific media concentrations to predict blood lead concentrations in children ages 0-84 months.

The purpose of this study is twofold: 1) use data collected and publically reported by MeCDC’s DWP to estimate lead concentrations in drinking water obtained from Community Water systems, and 2) examine whether the current EPA default background water-lead concentration of 4 μg/L continues to be an appropriate value for modeling background lead concentrations in Maine’s drinking water obtained from Community Water systems.

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