While lead levels have been decreasing in the US population, it is important to continue to monitor blood lead levels, especially among pregnant women and children aged 1 to 5 years, a recent study found. Blood lead levels were analyzed in 63,890 participants of the National Health Nutrition and Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999 to 2014. Researchers found:
• Mean blood levels were 1.65 μg/dL, 1.44 μg/dL, 1.43 μg/dL, 1.29 μg/dL, 1.27 μg/dL, 1.12 μg/dL, 0.97 μg/dL, and 0.84 μg/dL in 1999-2000, 2001-2002, 2003-2004, 2005-2006, 2007-2008, 2009-2010, 2011-2012, and 2013-2014, respectively.
• Blood lead levels decreased significantly and the trend remained significant when stratified by age, gender, ethnicity, and pregnancy status.
• Estimated percentages of children with blood lead level ≥5 μg/dL decreased during the study period and was significant.
• In children aged 1 to 5 years in the NHANES 2011-2014, the estimated 97.5 percentile of blood lead level was 3.48 μg/dL.
Citation: Tsoi MF, Cheung CL, Cheung TT, Cheung BMY. Continual decrease in blood lead level in Americans: United States National Health Nutrition and Examination Survey 1999-2014. Am J Med. 2016;129(11):1213-1218. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2016.05.042.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC response to advisory committee on childhood lead poisoning prevention. June 7, 2012. https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/acclpp/cdc_response_lead_exposure_recs.pdf. Accessed November 4, 2016.
2. California Department of Public Health. Management guidelines on childhood lead poisoning for health care providers. https://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/CLPPB/Documents/Provider%20mgmt%20guide.... Accessed November 4, 2016.
3. Hanna-Attisha M, LaChance J, Sadler RC, Schnepp AC. Elevated blood lead levels in children associated with the Flint drinking water crisis: A spatial analysis of risk and public health response. American Journal of Public Health. 2016;106(2):283-290. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.303003.
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