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Important Facts for Lead Exposure - Annual Childhood Blood Lead Levels

Definition

Annual blood lead level indicator provides information on the number of New Mexico resident children under age 6 years tested for blood lead and test results in a given year. Measures include: 1) the number and percent of children tested; 2) the number and percent of children tested with confirmed blood lead levels of 5 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL) or greater; 3) the number and percent of children tested with blood lead levels greater than 5 and less than 10 mcg/dL or greater (all, confirmed and unconfirmed).

Numerator

For measure #1: Number of New Mexico resident children under age 6 years, who were tested for lead exposure in a given year, For measure #2: Number of New Mexico resident children under age 6 years tested with a blood lead level result of 5 mcg/dL or higher, which was confirmed by a venous test or two capillary tests less than 12 weeks apart in a given year; For measure #3: Number of New Mexico resident children under age 6 years tested with a blood lead level result of greater than 5 and less than 10 mcg/dL (all, confirmed and unconfirmed) in a given year.

Denominator

For measure #1: Number of New Mexico resident children under age 6 years in the same year; For measures #2 and #3: Total number of New Mexico resident children under age 6 years tested for lead exposure in the same year.

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 affect nearly every organ and system in the body, adversely affecting 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, delayed development, changes in behavior, kidney problems and anemia. There is no known safe level of exposure to lead. Testing of children for lead exposure is up the child's age of 72 months (6 years). Children should be tested for lead exposure at least once before the age of 3 years; some states require more than one test between ages of 12 and 36 months (3 years). Children not tested before the age of 3 should be tested at least once before the age of 6. In all states, a blood lead test is required for Medicaid-eligible children at ages 12 and 24 months.

Other Objectives

CDC Environmental Public Health Tracking, Nationally Consistent Data and Measures (EPHT NCDM)
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Content updated: Thu, 3 Jan 2019 11:47:28 MST