Density Elevated Blood Lead Levels 1995 To 2014

Current static map

Childhood blood lead levels 10 mcg per dL or higher

Childhood Lead Poisoning

What is lead poisoning?

It is a build-up of lead in the body that can occur over a period of months or years. Children under the age 6 are most vulnerable to lead poisoning. Lead poisoning can occur when lead is swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed in any form.

What are the sources of lead?

  • Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in houses built before 1978
  • Older toys painted with lead-based paint
  • Contaminated air, water, and soil
  • Old water pipes
  • Workplaces (plumbing, construction, car or radiator repair, waste incineration, welding, etc.)

Who is at risk?

  • Children in poverty
  • Members of racial-ethnic minority groups
  • Immigrants
  • Children living in houses built before 1978
  • Children whose parents are exposed to lead at work

How is a child’s lead level tested?

A blood sample is taken by either by a finger or heel prick or from a vein.

What do the results mean?

  • 0-4 μg/dL there is very little lead in your child’s blood
  • 5-9 μg/dL your child has a little more lead than most children
  • 10-14 μg/dL your child’s lead level is high; result of 10 or higher requires action
  • 15-44 μg/dL your child’s lead level is very high; your doctor should act quickly
  • ≥ 45 μg/dL your child needs medical treatment right away

What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Anemia
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of energy

What are the long-term complications of elevated blood lead levels?

  • Behavior or attention problems
  • Lower IQ
  • Failure at school
  • Hearing problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Delayed growth

How can a childhood lead poisoning be prevented?

  • In older homes, have paint and dust tested for lead.
  • Ensure your child does not have access to peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint.
  • Wet-mop floors and wet-wipe window sills of older homes regularly.
  • Wash children’s hand and toys regularly.
  • Prevent children from playing in bare soil; provide them with sandboxes if possible.
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Sources and Resources

CDC - At-Risk Populations

CDC - Lead

CDC - Lead Poisoning Prevention and Treatment Recommendations for Refugee Children

Environmental Protection Agency - Lead

Mayo Clinic - Lead Poisoning

National Environmental Public Health Tracking - Childhood Lead Poisoning

ODH - Lead Poisoning Prevention - Children

World Health Organization - Lead poisoning and health