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Kennedy Krieger Institute Lead Abatement Study

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This second case study carried out by the Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI) which is affiliated to the John Hopkins University with a view of determining the effectiveness of removing or abating lead from housing places in Maryland with the sole reason of preventing cases of lead poisoning in the area. The main goals of the study was therefore to ascertain a scientifically and socially acceptable level of lead abatement and maintaining the availability of low rent accommodation in the region. This study of lead abatement in the housing of these residents is similar to the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in various way, one is because just like the TSUS study, it involved the inclusion of vulnerable populations in the study like for instance people living in low rent housings (lower economic circumstances) and who were not well educated to understand the risks that came as a result of accepting to participate in the research. Secondly, the lead abatement study is similar to the TSUS in that both studies led to filing of suits in courts claiming that they were not informed about the full details of the study which led to them being negatively affected.

The Lead abatement study and the TSUS study are dissimilar in the way that unlike in the Lead abatement study where the study enrollees were given a form for informed consent, this was not the case for the study enrollees in the TSUS who were being studies without their consent and knowledge. Furthermore, these two studies are dissimilar in the way that the Lead abatement study involved young enrollees (children) while the TSUS study involved adult people. Unlike the children who could not understand anything during the study, the enrollees in the TSUS case were mature people who were in good position to understand the aims of the study. The study could however, not have been conducted as a practical ,alter incase the families involved could have been living in lead free homes or even hired lead testing properties of their own because the study initially targeted people who stayed in low level rental premises and who were eager to get their houses repaired for free.    

Most landlords could not be willing to spend a lot of money if the stringent rules were put in place to ensure that abatement measures must be effected before they rented their premises. The landlords will therefore see this as a great loss as they won’t be willing to invest a lot of their cash on buying properties for lead abatement. The hosing economics in Baltimore, the lack of funding for HIV treatment and the lack of public health infrastructure in developing countries is similar in both cases in that they all require funding in order to accomplish their task.  The ethical evaluation of this study indeed demonstrates that not all participants benefited from the Lead abatement study because from the literature, the levels of lead in some children were negatively affected because they suffered from effects of elevated blood lead levels and lead poisoning. The study therefore benefited some of the participants while it led to the loss of the other. 

The study of the design was faulty in such a way that form of consent was not fully informative because it did not contain the risks that the participants could be faced with as a result of participating in the study. The study did not apart from highlighting the benefits the residents stood to gain, mention any compensation that could have been paid incase of any injuries suffered. The study could still have been unethical even if the researchers made timely results regarding testing to the parents because it involved children. Researchers should therefore be required to point out the possible risks that children could be faced with during their research and seek that they be evacuated for their own safety.  Researchers should therefore be held fully accountable for their actions even if the consent document does not reveal enough information on the ethical standards to be followed even when a contract has already been created. The risks children could be exposed to should be universally be declared and not be specific.

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