DefinitionThe percentage of children born in the same year and tested before age three years with confirmed elevated blood lead levels (10 micrograms per deciliter - mcg/dL) is the number of children born in the same year and tested for lead exposure prior to the age of three years with confirmed elevated blood lead levels divided by the number of children born in the same year and tested for lead before age three years.
NumeratorNumber of NM resident children born in the same year and tested for lead exposure prior to the age of three years with a blood lead level of 10 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL) or higher which was confirmed by a venous test or two capillary tests less than 12 weeks apart.
DenominatorNumber of NM resident children born in the same year who were tested for lead exposure prior to the age of three years.
Data Interpretation IssuesComplete residential addresses are not available for all children tested. Sometimes the address of the clinic is used as a surrogate when the child's address is not available.
Vital Statistics birth data do not include children who have moved in or out of the area since birth. Therefore, as a denominator, these data may under or over estimate the number of children eligible for lead exposure testing in the area.
Why Is This Important?Environmental lead is a common toxic metal, present in all areas of the United States. Lead exposure and lead poisoning are preventable. Lead exposure can adversely affect nearly every organ and system in the body, including the nervous, blood, hormonal, kidney, and reproductive systems. Children are more vulnerable to lead poisoning than adults. Children from all social and economic levels can be affected. The bodies of young children absorb lead more readily than adults. During the first three years of life, children's brains are growing the fastest, developing the critical connections in the nervous system that control thought, learning, hearing, movement, behavior, and emotions. The normal behaviors of children at this age, such as crawling, exploring, teething, and putting objects in their mouth, put them at an increased risk for lead exposure. Even blood lead levels lower than 5 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL) may be associated with negative outcomes for children, such as cognitive impairment and learning disabilities, delayed development, changes in behavior, kidney problems and anemia. There is no known safe level of exposure to lead. The state requires all children enrolled in Medicaid be tested for lead exposure at ages 12 months and 24 months.
Other ObjectivesCDC Environmental Public Health Tracking, Nationally Consistent Data and Measures (EPHT NCDM)