A Participatory-Based Research Approach for Assessing Exposure to Lead-Contaminated Drinking Water in the Houston Neighborhood of the Greater Fifth Ward. Academic Article uri icon


  • To address community-driven concerns about lead-contaminated drinking water in residential homes in the Greater Fifth Ward neighborhood in Northeast Houston, Texas utilizing participatory-based research. The study collected survey data and performed lead analysis on drinking water from residents homes. The Greater Fifth Ward is characterized as a majority-minority environmental justice community and is located within two confirmed cancer clusters. The residents of 172 homes completed a survey and had detectable lead levels in their water samples. Survey results indicated that more than half of the residents (58.2%) were concerned with the water quality and 42.9% rated the drinking water as poor. Water lead levels detected ranged from 0.01 to 22 g/L. 10.9% of homes exceeding 1 g/L, and one located exceeded the USEPAs action limit of 15 g/L. Homes built prior to 1978 without major renovation had significantly higher levels of lead in their drinking water compared to homes built after 1978 (p-value < 0.05). These findings demonstrate the need for lead testing of residential water in low socioeconomic-status communities, as well as demonstrating the benefits of community engagement and participatory research to address environmental health concerns.

published proceedings

  • Int J Environ Res Public Health

altmetric score

  • 1.85

author list (cited authors)

  • Fawkes, L. S., McDonald, T. J., Roh, T., Chiu, W. A., Taylor, R. J., & Sansom, G. T.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Fawkes, Leanne S||McDonald, Thomas J||Roh, Taehyun||Chiu, Weihsueh A||Taylor, Robert J||Sansom, Garett T

publication date

  • July 2022