Figure 17: Number and Percent of Children Under Age Six Years with Blood Lead Levels of 5 - 9 mcg/dL1; 1998 to 2005 Blood Lead Test Data, New York State Excluding New York City

A growing body of scientific research highlights concerns about the effects on children's physical and mental development of BLLs below 10 mcg/dL; the blood lead level established by the federal Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) as the definition of lead poisoning and the level requiring public health intervention. Figure 17 shows the number and percent of children under age six tested for blood lead levels with results between 5 - 9 mcg/dL for each year 1998-2005.

In 2005, a total of 22,096 children were identified with BLLs of 5 - 9 mcg/dL, representing 11.4% of the total 193,239 children tested for lead in that year. Trend data show a steady decline in both the number and percent of children identified with BLLs in this range since 1998, paralleling the declines in EBLLs over the same period. The total number of children with BLLs between 5 - 9 mcg/dL declined 38.4% between 1998 and 2005, from 35,850 children in 1998 to 22,096 children in 2005. The percent of children with BLLs of 5 - 9 mcg/dL declined 43.0% over the same period, from 20.0% of children tested in 1998 to 11.4% of children tested in 2005. During this same time period, the number of children with the lowest measurable BLLs of 0 - < 5 mcg/dL increased from 138,439 (77.1% of children tested) in 1998 to 168,860 (87.4% of children tested) in 2005 (data not shown).

Under current NYS Public Health Law and regulations and CDC guidelines, all parents should be provided with anticipatory guidance on the major causes of lead poisoning and means for preventing lead exposure as part of routine care, with consideration for children's environments. Children whose BLLs are below 10 mcg/dL on their first routine screening test at or around age one year need to have a second screening test at or around age two years to assure that BLLs are still within this range. Children with one or more identified risk factors for exposure to lead based on a clinical risk assessment should be screened at least annually beginning at age six months and continuing up to age six years. In addition, population-based community education and primary prevention strategies should be advanced to eliminate children's exposure to lead in their environments.

It should be noted that due to inherent limitations in blood lead laboratory analysis methods, BLLs below 10 mcg/dL are subject to increased measurement error and therefore should be interpreted with caution and should not be interpreted as absolute values.

Year of Test Number of Children with Blood Lead Levels of 5 - 9 mcg/dL Percent of Children with Blood Lead Levels of 5 - 9 mcg/dL
1998 35,850 20.0
1999 31,906 18.4
2000 30,380 17.0
2001 27,313 14.9
2002 27,646 15.1
2003 24,182 13.8
2004 25,934 13.3
2005 22,096 11.4

Footnotes

  1. The number of children with a BLL of 5 - 9 mcg/dL divided by the number of children that had a screening test in that given year multiplied by 100. Values reported below 10 mcg/dL are subject to increased measurement error and should not be interpreted as an absolute value.