Thursday, May 17, 2012

CDC Lowers Threshold for Dangerous Lead Levels in Children

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday lowered the recommended limit for lead exposure in young children for the first time in 20 years, which the CDC says could add 200,000 children to those believed to have unsafe lead levels in their blood. The new standard, applicable to children under age 6, lowers the threshold to 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, from 10 micrograms per deciliter.

High lead levels in young children have been found to affect cognitive development and may lead to a lower I.Q. In 2010 the AMA House of Delegates approved a report by the AMA Council on Science and Public Health on lead levels in children, which noted that data since 1994 have shown impaired cognition, lowered IQ, and behavioral problems for children exposed to lead at blood concentrations below the CDC's then-current "level of concern" of 10 micrograms per deciliter.

For a report on the AMA's action regarding lead levels in children, see Psychiatric News.
(Image: Mr. Green/