Lead screenings in Maine

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Why This Indicator Matters

According to the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, protecting children from exposure to lead is important to lifelong good health. There is no safe level of lead in a person’s blood. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. The most important step parents, doctors, and others can take is to prevent lead exposure before it occurs.
CDC Fact Sheet on elevated lead levels in children

In Maine, since 2007, the Department of Health and Human Services has directed that children who live in high-risk areas be universally screened for elevated blood levels between their first and second birthdays.

What the data shows:
In 2017, 54.8% children ages 12 -24 months were screened for blood lead. In three counties – Sagadahoc, Waldo, and Knox – less than 40% were screened for blood lead. While Waldo  and Knox Counties were at 39%, Sagadahoc had the lowest rate at 28.4%.In terms of trends, there is a statewide upward trend in the screening rate for children between the ages of 12-24 months. In 2003, 46.6% of these children were screened statewide, and by 2017, that number had inched up to 54.8%.
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Note: Non-consecutive years appear adjacent in the trend line
because one or more years have been deselected.

Definitions: Children can be given a blood test to measure the level of lead in their blood. This measure shows the number and percent of lead screenings for children ages 12 -24 months . For percent of screenings, the numerator is the estimated number of children ages 12 -24 month who received lead screenings and the denominator is the number of children ages 12 -24 months. Note that a  blood lead test is considered a "screening test" only when a child has no prior history of a confirmed blood lead at or above 5 micrograms per deciliter (ug/dL).

Data Source: Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention, Maine Tracking Network

Footnotes: Data last uploaded March 2019.