CDC Changes Level of Concern for Lead

-National Center for Healthy Housing

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced its acceptance of its advisory committee’s recommendation to redefine the level at which children are considered to have too much lead in their blood and to focus the nation’s attention on preventing lead exposure. CDC’s “level of concern,” unchanged since 1991, is a blood lead level of 10 micrograms per deciliter. The new reference value, which is based on population blood lead levels, would focus action on those children with the highest blood lead levels (i.e. those above the 97.5th percentile). The revised value would be five micrograms per deciliter. The change will increase the number of children requiring follow-up services from less than 100,000 to 450,000. The National Center for Healthy Housing and the American Public Health Association expressed their support for the decision, stating that the policy change is supported by overwhelming evidence and that more resources are needed to fully implement the decision.