Study Calls for Increased Efforts to Prevent Children’s Exposure to Lead

A recent study led by Pat McLaine at the University Of Maryland School Of Nursing revealed that even lower blood lead levels than previously believed could impact a child’s ability to learn. In 2012, the blood lead threshold for defining lead poisoning was lowered to just 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after evidence suggested that young children with blood lead levels over 5 micrograms were still at a high risk of developing decreased intelligence and impaired hearing. McLaine and her colleagues studied kindergarten reading readiness scores and state health department records from 3,406 children between 2004 and 2006. At least 32% of the 1, 091 children with blood lead levels of less than 5 micrograms failed to pass standard reading readiness goals for their age group. There were 217 children with levels over 10 micrograms per deciliter, and from this group, 51% were unable to meet the standard benchmark.

Federal Panel States Current Lead Poisoning Diagnosis Levels for Kids Too High

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that for the first time in 20 years a federal panel with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging the government to lower the threshold for lead poisoning in children. New research convinced members of the panel that children may be harmed from lead levels in their blood that are lower than the current standards. The panel, named the Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention, has suggested lowering the definition of lead poisoning for children from 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood to 5 micrograms. This means that if the new standard is adopted, thousands more young children could be diagnosed with lead poisoning. Health officials estimate that as many as 250,000 kids may have lead poisoning, but with the new standard, the number may go up to 450,000. Lead, which for years was a metal common in gasoline and paint, can severely harm a child’s kidneys, brain, and other vital organs. High levels of lead in the blood can cause convulsions, a coma, or even death, while lower levels can impair hearing and behavior, as well as reduce intelligence, among other problems. Too much lead in the[…..]