Preventing Lead Poisoning in Children

Approximately 500,000 U.S. children between ages one and five have blood lead levels at or above the latest CDC reference values. The CDC now recommends that children with blood lead levels between 3.5 and 5.0 micrograms per deciliter be provided case management to mitigate health effects and remove or control lead exposure sources, according to state and local provisions. 

Despite an overall decline in blood lead levels in children across the United States, significant disparities in exposure to lead exist by geographic location and race/ethnicity. Additionally, children from households with incomes below the federal poverty level are more likely to be exposed to lead. There are many locations in the United States where large numbers of children have blood lead levels at or above the blood lead reference value. 

Contributing to this problem, fewer children received blood lead testing because the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted access to care. In some places, as many as two out of three children missed being tested during the early part of the pandemic.

Children’s blood lead levels should be tested according to the following:

  • Children enrolled in Medicaid must be tested at 12 months and 24 months.

  • In addition, children between the ages of 24 and 72 months with no record of a previous blood lead test should be tested.

  • All children at higher risk for lead poisoning should be tested according to state and local guidelines.

If you are unsure if your child has had adequate blood lead testing, contact your pediatrician and/or Heartland Panda Pediatrics.