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American journal of public health

Public health and law collaboration: the Philadelphia Lead Court study.


PMID 23678927

Abstract

We determined whether Philadelphia Lead Court is effective in enforcing lead hazard remediation in the homes of children with elevated blood lead levels. We created a deidentified data set for properties with an initial failed home inspection (IFHI) for lead hazards from January 1, 1998, through December 31, 2008, and compared compliance rates within the first year and time to compliance for lead hazard remediation between 1998 and 2002 (precourt period) and between 2003 and 2008 (court period). We evaluated predictors of time to compliance. Within 1 year of the IFHI, 6.6% of the precourt and 76.8% of the court cases achieved compliance (P < .001) for the 3764 homes with data. Four years after the IFHI, 18% had attained compliance in the precourt period compared with 83.1% for the court period (P < .001). A proportional hazard analysis found that compliance was 8 times more likely in the court than the precourt period (P < .001). Lead court was more effective than precourt enforcement strategies. Most properties were remediated within 1 year of the IFHI, and time to compliance was significantly reduced. This model court could be replicated in other cities with similar enforcement problems.