in the mining industry over time and the status of the associated mining communities. The forest resources have supported the lumber industry, and Lake Coeur d’Alene is developing a strong recreation and tourism economy. In addition, some members of the Coeur d’Alene tribe historically relied on the resources of the basin to support a subsistence lifestyle.
There are also important relationships between the socioeconomic attributes of the basin communities and potential risks from environmental contaminants. The mining communities have large stocks of older housing. Older houses are more apt to have lead-based paints, which constitute an indoor source of lead exposure. They typically also have greater air infiltration rates than new houses, which can result in larger inputs of airborne contaminants to the indoor environment. Households in the basin tend to have low incomes, and basin communities exhibit high poverty rates. Research on the relationships between blood lead in children and environmental and social factors has shown that blood lead levels (BLLs) tend to increase as measures of socioeconomic status decrease (Bornschein et al. 1985). A final factor affecting human health risks for the types of contaminants found in the basin is the age of the people exposed. Very young