CDC Lowers Threshold Limit of Lead for Children

CDC Lowers Threshold Limit of Lead for Children
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For the first time in more than twenty years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a new standard effectively lowering the threshold for lead from 10 milligrams per deciliter to only 5 milligrams. The agency determined the new levels by examining the lead levels in the highest 2.5 percent of children. The new rules are applicable for children under six years old.

High lead levels in children have been found to cause lower I.Q. levels and affect cognitive development. The previous level did not seem to have an effect on reducing damage to the brains of young children, so the agency decided that change was needed. The shift in rules is a move to focus more on prevention of lead poisoning in children rather than response and treatment. The goal would be to locate children with the highest levels of lead and to remove the contaminated sources from their environments.

The damage caused by lead, even in small amounts, is irreversible and is often so subtle that it goes unnoticed for a long time. Experts note that there is no safe lead limit for children.

Under the old standard, about 250,000 children had high levels. Nationally, about 450,000 children will now be considered to have high lead levels and will require pediatric intervention.

Risk factors for lead include toys, jewelry, lead pipes and lead paint in homes built prior to 1978.