Project Director

Ford, Dawn

Department Examiner

Farnsley, Sarah; Tucker, John C.


Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Childhood lead poisoning is an ongoing health threat despite actions taken by governmental bodies to remove lead from gasoline, paint, and other various household objects in which lead is found. In South Chattanooga specifically, lead has been found in the soil at such a level it is considered a public health threat, especially to children under the age of six. This situation has caused the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to name the South Chattanooga area as a Superfund site known as the Southside Chattanooga Lead Superfund site. This designation has resulted in multiple community meetings between EPA officials and Chattanooga residents, as well as door-to-door canvassing and mailing of information to affected households. Despite all of these measures being taken, the awareness levels regarding soil lead contamination in the community has been historically low as shown by previous survey data and data collected through this study. To combat this low awareness level, this study used Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) in the community in an attempt to get the community members’ insight on how to rectify this issue. While the modified CBPR process was not as effective with this community as hoped, a survey developed and implemented during this study provided useful information from the East Lake community and can be used in the future. Most survey respondents showed similar trends in awareness to what has been found in past surveys with 50% reporting they did not previously know about the lead contamination and 75% reporting they were not asked about testing their soil. In regards to access forms, most had no idea why community members would not sign the forms. Survey data also indicated that community members are more likely to receive news about their neighborhood through television and social media. Using these avenues of information distribution, those working in these areas can better inform affected community members about the situation.


I would like to thank my thesis director Dr. Dawn Ford for her endless support and patience throughout this endeavor. I would also like to thank all of the lab members (Rosa Cantu, Zach North, Kavina Patel) for helping me with materials, moral support, and presence as I figured out how to best approach potential participants. A huge thank you to Ryan Ledford for attending several surveying sessions with me as a Spanish translator and Itzel Guzman for all the work she has done translating my material for me. Finally, thank you to Professor Sarah Farnsley and Dr. John Tucker for shouldering the extra work and agreeing to be part of my committee; thanks for being there for me to run my ideas by yet another person!

IRB Number

IRB #20-013


B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




Health risk communication; Lead poisoning in children; Soil pollution


Chattanooga (Tenn.)


biology; community health; public health


Medical Toxicology | Public Health

Document Type



33 leaves