Lead Exposure in California’s Children

October 24, 2017


Children Ages 0-5 with Elevated Blood Lead Levels, 2013

Lead is a leading environmental threat to children’s health in the U.S. When children are exposed to lead—usually through contaminated dust, paint, or soil—it can have lifelong adverse effects, such as disrupted postnatal growth, hearing and learning disabilities, lowered IQ scores, behavioral problems, difficulty paying attention, and hyperactivity.

More than 1,200 California children ages 0-5 who were tested in 2013 had blood lead levels at or above 9.5 micrograms per deciliter (μg/dL), well over the CDC reference level of 5μg/dL. Experts agree that prevention is the best course of action. While regulations and abatement efforts have helped reduce the prevalence of lead in the environment in recent decades, lead continues to pose a health and behavioral threat to children. More must be done.

See policy options that could make a difference »

From October 22 to 28, the CDC and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are promoting National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.


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