Date of Award

Winter 1-6-2017

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

John Steward

Second Advisor

Tim Frederick

Abstract

Introduction: The United States Environmental Protection Agency began monitoring lead and other contaminants in residential properties the 35th Avenue district of Northern Birmingham in October of 2012. The EPA sampled eleven-hundred homes for lead and other contaminants, and in 2014 the EPA began cleanup on 400 sites. Residents have refused cleanup here and in other sites such as the Colorado smelter site and the Omaha City Superfund site due to lack of knowledge of the harms of lead poisoning, general mistrust of government agencies, or apathy. A complete and concise lead fact sheet for residents from the community outreach may encourage the remaining residents to allow the EPA to sample and cleanup. Lead contamination and poisoning are serious threats that can adversely affect people’s health and lives.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not the selected lead fact sheets were understandable to the general public, and future fact sheets need to be revised before being used. If a new fact sheet needed to be completed, what information would be needed? Is there a way to effectively convey information in a simple and direct way?

Methods: The methodology will focus on four areas to assess the 35th avenue fact sheet and eleven other fact sheets used in the various government and private establishments. Information obtained from these areas will then be used to create a new fact sheet. The following studied areas are: 1) How fact sheets were gathered; 2) Reading analysis; 3) Suitability Assessment of Materials; and 4) Development of new fact sheet.

Results: The Flesch-Kincaid reading levels ranged from 5.5 to 16. The average level for the twelve fact sheets was 9.9. Seven fact sheets could be read at a level below the 10th grade. Therefore, with the use of the currently evaluated lead fact sheets, more that 50% of Americans would not be able to understand them (Doak et al., 1996).

Discussion: A lead fact sheet should be no more than one page in length that focuses on background, procedures, and prevention during a response to lead contamination. The new lead fact sheet should be written at a 6th-grade reading level and receive a high score on SAM. The new revisions to the fact sheet will ensure that the new fact sheet will be comprehensible by the majority of adults in the United States.

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