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Thursday, October 28, 2021

CDC Updates Blood Lead Reference Value for Children

Capitol Hill Announcement: CDC Updates Blood Lead Reference Value for Children

Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an update to the Blood Lead Reference Value (BLRV) from 5.0 micrograms per deciliter (μg/dL) to 3.5 (μg/dL) in children.

The BLRV is intended to identify children with higher levels of lead in their blood compared to most children, based on the 97.5th percentile of the blood lead distribution in U.S. children ages 1–5 years. The BLRV is not a clinical reference level defining an acceptable range of blood lead levels in children nor is it a health-based toxicity threshold. Instead BLRV is used as a screening tool to:

  • identify children who have higher levels of lead in their blood compared with most children; and
  • assess the effectiveness of prevention efforts.

By lowering the BLRV to 3.5 μg/dL, children with blood lead levels between 3.5 and 5 μg/dL will now be identified as having blood lead levels higher than most other children. Updating the reference value allows CDC, federal partners, and health departments to focus on children with the highest lead exposure compared to most children in that age range to reduce blood lead levels and identify sources of exposure. By paving the way for early intervention and the prevention of additional exposure and associated harm, updating the BLRV supports the Administration’s commitment to health equity and addressing environmental justice.

Despite the overall decline of blood lead levels over time, lead exposure remains a significant public health concern for children because of persistent lead hazards in the environment. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. There are still millions of locations throughout the United States with lead hazards and large numbers of children at risk for lead exposure. Significant disparities in exposure and health outcomes continue to exist across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic status.

Capitol Hill Announcement: CDC Updates Blood Lead Reference Value for Children

 

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https://ehtrust.org/cdc-updates-blood-lead-reference-value-for-children-lowering-it-from-5-to-3-5/ Source: Environmental Health Trust