Lead exposure may be on the decline in the past 40 years, since it has been taken out of most household products, but in some places in the United States, it still remains a huge problem–and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has finally stepped up to do something about it. 

In 2012, the CDC set a blood lead threshold of 5 micrograms per deciliter for children under the age of 6, declaring it the point at which the child was in crisis.

However, it should be noted that while the CDC has set this limit, there is no amount of lead that is safe for ingestion in adults or children.

Given that lead contamination is still an issue in certain parts of the country, the CDC has decided to lower the crisis threshold to 3.5 micrograms of lead per deciliter for children under the age of 6.

This new measure will be enacted in the new year and will be up for debate during a meeting on January 17.

Levels of lead can be particularly concerning in lower income areas in which lead contaminated the local water supply or in some cases, is even found in the soil around housing.

Often times the contamination can go on for months or years before it is detected, which can lead to serious adverse affects in children, particularly those who are still developing.

Levels of lead can also be concerning for children who live in older houses who may have used lead paint as part of the interior decorating scheme before the substance was banned from household items.

Overall, lead levels have decreased dramatically in the past 40 years, to the tune of 90%.

But, as stated above, it doesn’t mean the problem isn’t very real in some areas of the country, and that the organizations shouldn’t be tightening their regulations.

Bernard M Y Cheung, a University of Hong Kong professor who studies lead data, stated:

“Lead has no biological function in the body, and so the less there is of it in the body the better. Lead has no biological function in the body, and so the less there is of it in the body the better.”

Hopefully, as Cheung states, this will lead to more efficient and tighter regulations on lead levels in the future.


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