Committee Calls for CDC to Lower Threshold on Identifying Child Lead Poisoning

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been asked by a federal advisory committee to lower its threshold for diagnosing cases of lead poisoning in children. The lowering of the threshold would have lower levels of lead toxicity in children be identified as dangerous, bringing more attention to a serious problem that can have life-long effects, according to The New York Times.

This is the first recommendation for lowering the lead poisoning threshold in 20 years and would lower the official diagnosis of lead poisoning from 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood to five micrograms. It is expected that by doing so, hundreds of thousands more children would be diagnosed as suffering from lead poisoning, with approximately 250,000 children already diagnosed in the United States. It is believed that a lowering of the threshold would result in an increase in the safety of living conditions for children throughout the U.S.

Lead poisoning typically results from exposure to paint that contains lead, which is often found in homes built before 1978. The paint deteriorates into flakes and dust which poses a danger to any who are exposed, with children being especially vulnerable. When a child’s body contains a high level of lead, he or she can suffer injuries to developing organs, such as the brain and kidneys. As such, cognitive and physiological functions can suffer permanent damage that will last for the child’s entire life. Because these effects are so devastating, it is important for all families to practice caution when it comes to lead exposure, especially for any children that may be affected.

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