Until recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that children be identified as having a blood lead level of concern if their blood level test results were 10 or more micrograms per deciliter of lead in blood. This week, after recommendations offered by The Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention (ACCLPP) in January 2012, the CDC has announced new, lower lead poisoning levels. The ACCLPP recommended that the CDC change its “blood lead level of concern” due to a growing number of scientific studies that show that even low blood lead levels can cause lifelong health effects. The committee recommended that the CDC should link lead levels to data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) in order to better identify children living or staying for long periods in environments that expose them to lead hazards. The new levels are based on U.S. children ages 1?5 years who are in the top 2.5% when tested for lead in their blood, an amount identified as 5 micrograms per deciliter of lead in blood.

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Why the new lower lead levels?

For a long time, the CDC has been saying that there are technically no safe levels of lead exposure, yet their lead poisoning levels have remained at 10 or more micrograms per deciliter of lead in blood. The new lower level means that more children will be identified as having lead exposure earlier on, allowing parents, doctors, public health officials and communities to take appropriate actions earlier. As a parent, this means that you’ll be told if your child tests positive for lead at this lower level, which may not have happened in the past. Right now, treatment recommendations have not changed and there’s currently no medical treatment recommended for children with blood lead levels lower than 45 micrograms per deciliter. However, simply knowing that your child has a lead level at all is useful, as you can then learn more about the possible sources of the lead exposure and find out if one or more unrecognized sources of lead are pre