American Public Health Association (APHA)

Embargoed AJPH research: Lead in NYC public housing, Hurricane Maria deaths, Ohio refugee lead levels, political economy and public health

To request copies of articles or for information on scheduling interviews with an expert, please contact Megan Lowry.

EMBARGOED UNTIL Thursday, April 18, 4 p.m. ET

American Journal of Public Health June issue research highlights:

Kids in NYC public housing 92% less likely to have elevated lead levels than kids in private housing

Newswise — Researchers found children living in public housing in New York City were significantly less likely to have elevated blood lead levels than children living in private housing. Decreases in blood lead levels over time were likely a result of lead reduction legislation.

The study examined electronic medical records for blood lead levels among 4,693 children receiving care at a multisite Federally Qualified Health Center during 2003 to 2017. Only 0.25% of children residing in public housing had blood lead levels exceeding the upper reference limit of 5 micrograms per deciliter, as compared with 2.76% of children residing in private housing. After adjusting for age, gender and race/ethnicity, public housing was associated with 92% lower odds of having a blood lead level of 5 micrograms per deciliter or above.

[Author Contact: Jacqueline M. Chiofalo, Institute for Family Health, New York, NY. “Pediatric Blood Lead Levels Within New York City Public Versus Private Housing, 2003–2017”].

Heart disease most common cause of excess death in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

Researchers estimated a total of 1,205 excess deaths in Puerto Rico in September and October 2017, following Hurricane Maria. Excess deaths were slightly higher among men than women (632 and 579 deaths, respectively) and found only among people age 60 or older (1,038 deaths). Most excess deaths occurred from heart disease (253 deaths), “other” causes (204 deaths), diabetes (195 deaths), Alzheimer’s disease (122 deaths) and septicemia (81 deaths).

The number of excess deaths was similar to recent government estimates. However, this study is the first to identify the causes of death that were exacerbated by the disaster.

Authors note an accurate estimation of the top causes of excess mortality can help authorities plan resource allocation for the island’s recovery and for the prevention of deaths in future disasters.

[Author Contact: Raul Cruz-Cano, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park. “Causes of Excess Deaths in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria: A Time-Series Estimation”].

22% of refugee children in Ohio have elevated blood lead levels

In this study of 5,661 children resettled in Ohio from 2009 to 2016, researchers found 22.3% of children younger than age 18 and 27.1% of those younger than age 6 had elevated blood lead levels. Children resettled from a South Asia region including Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Burma had the highest prevalence of elevated blood lead levels. In addition, those younger than age 6, who were male and who were screened within 30 days of arrival had significantly higher elevated blood lead level prevalence than did children ages 13 and older, who were female and who were screened 90 days after arrival.

Authors concluded the overall high proportion and variation in elevated blood lead levels by country of origin among resettled refugee children in the United States warrant comprehensive, yet tailored, guidelines for health professionals and resettlement and government agencies for better prevention and awareness programs targeting these high-risk children.

[Author Contact: Madhav P. Bhatta, College of Public Health, Kent State University, Kent, OH. “Elevated Blood Lead Levels Among Resettled Refugee Children in Ohio, 2009–2016”].

Countries with more health spending and social democracy are healthier

This review of 58 studies on political economy and public health found that politics, economics and public policy are important determinants of population health. Countries with social democratic regimes, higher public spending and lower income inequalities have populations with better health. The study states that policymakers should be aware that social democratic welfare state types, countries that spend more on public services, and countries with lower income inequalities have better self-rated health and lower mortality.

Researchers also found substantial gaps in research on the relationship between political economy and health, and determined a need for higher-quality reviews and empirical studies in this area.

[Author Contact: Gerry McCartney, Public Health Science, NHS Health Scotland, Glasgow,Scotland. “Impact of Political Economy on Population Health: A Systematic Review of Reviews”]

Find a full list of AJPH research papers published online below:

  • Causes Of Excess Deaths In Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria: A Time-Series Estimation
  • Pediatric Blood Lead Levels Within New York City Public Versus Private Housing, 2003-2017
  • Provider And Public Health Adaptation To Changing CDC Guidance For Zika Virus, 2015-2017
  • Alcohol Availability Across Neighborhoods In Ontario Following Alcohol Sales Deregulation, 2013-2017
  • Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status And Healthcare Costs: A Population-Wide Study In The Netherlands
  • Interactive Vs Video-Based Training of Police to Communicate Syringe Legality To People Who Inject Drugs: The Shield Study, Mexico, 2015-2016.
  • Impact Of Political Economy On Population Health: A Systematic Review Of Reviews
  • The Eighteen Of 18-19: Black Nurses And The Great Flu Pandemic In The United States
  • Does Despair Really Kill? A Roadmap For An Evidence-Based Answer
  • Elevated Blood Lead Levels Among Resettled Refugee Children In Ohio, 2009-2016
  • An MHealth SMS Intervention On Postpartum Contraceptive Use Among Women And Couples In Kenya: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Changes In State Technical Assistance Priorities And Block Grant Funds For Addiction After Aca Implementation

The articles above will be published online April 18, 2019, at 4 p.m. ET by AJPH under “First Look.” “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. AJPH is published by the American Public Health Association, and is available at

Complimentary online access to the Journal is available to credentialed members of the media. Address inquiries to Megan Lowry at APHA, 202-777-3913, or email her. A single print issue of the Journal is available for $35 from the Journal’s Subscriptions Department. If you are not a member of the press, a member of APHA or a subscriber, online single-issue access is $30, and online single-article access is $22 at For direct customer service, call 202-777-2516, or email us.

To stay up to date on the latest in public health research, sign up for new content email alerts.


The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at

Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5649
Released: 23-Oct-2020 3:50 PM EDT
Trump Led Biden in Twitter Volume and in Positive Mentions, Analysis Shows
New York University

President Donald Trump received more Twitter mentions, and a greater increase of positive mentions, relative to former Vice President Joe Biden Thursday night, shows a new analysis of online activity leading up to, during, and immediately after the second presidential debate.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 26-Oct-2020 3:00 PM EDT Released to reporters: 23-Oct-2020 2:45 PM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 26-Oct-2020 3:00 PM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Released: 23-Oct-2020 2:30 PM EDT
Trump continued to falsely claim Biden supported getting rid of private insurance

In the final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, moderator Kristen Welker asks the candidates to speak about their plans for healthcare in the United States. President Trump once again accused his oponent of wanting to eliminate private health insurance. Trump has made this claim repeatedly. This claim is false. It conflates Biden's plan with those of other Democrats pushing "Medicare for All."

Released: 23-Oct-2020 1:50 PM EDT
Are we really “rounding the corner" when it comes the coronavirus pandemic?

“We’re rounding the turn,” Trump said during the debate. This implies a meaningful improvement. We rate this claim as false. On that very same day the U.S. recorded 77,000 new cases, according to NBC News. This tops the previous high that had been set in July. We may be learning to "live with it," as Trump mentioned, but this is not an improvement.

Released: 22-Oct-2020 11:55 AM EDT
A video posted by a European-based group called World Doctors Alliance falsely claims the novel coronavirus is “a normal flu virus”

A video posted by a European-based group called World Doctors Alliance claims the novel coronavirus is “a normal flu virus” and there is no COVID-19 pandemic. Although the video was removed from Youtube, portions of the video are circulating on Facebook. We rate this claim as false. Scientists universally agree that the cuase of this pandemic is a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and not a strain of influenza. COVID-19 is deadlier than the seasonal flu. COVID-19 so far has killed more people in the U.S. than the past five flu seasons combined.

Newswise: Time is Not on Their Side: Physicians Face Barriers to Voting
Released: 22-Oct-2020 11:00 AM EDT
Time is Not on Their Side: Physicians Face Barriers to Voting
UT Southwestern Medical Center

DALLAS – Oct. 22, 2020 – Two new UT Southwestern studies published today report some surprising findings: Only half of practicing physicians are registered to vote, and the most common obstacle faced by resident physicians is the lack of time to vote. The researchers say finding ways to increase voter participation among doctors is critical as the nation tackles health care issues.

Released: 22-Oct-2020 10:15 AM EDT
Pres. Trump claim that "phony ballots" were printed without his name on it is not entirely true

We rate this claim as mostly false. There was one instance in Los Angeles where a small percentage of mail ballots omitted the presidential race entirely. That meant that it wasn’t only Trump’s name that was missing, but also Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Showing results

110 of 5649