Lead Poisoning

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Why This Indicator Matters

Connecticut law mandates that medical providers must conduct annual lead screening (i.e., blood lead testing) for each child 9 to 35 months of age, and that that any child between 36-72 months of age who has not been previously tested must also be tested by his or her medical provider, regardless of risk. Children who are diagnosed with a blood lead level of 5µg/dL are considered to be lead poisoned, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Even at low levels, exposure to lead can cause irreversible damage in young children, including reduced growth, impaired cognitive abilities, impaired hearing, delayed puberty, and an increased risk of behavioral problems. [i] Infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children are the most susceptible to the toxic effects of lead because they absorb lead more readily than older children and adults and because their central nervous systems are still developing.[ii]

[i] Rosen, J. F. (1995). Adverse health effects of lead at low exposure levels: trends in the management of childhood lead poisoning. Toxicology97(1-3), 11-17.

[ii] Ford, D. M., Margaritis, V., & Mendelsohn, A. B. (2016). Characteristics of childhood lead poisoning among Tennessee children ages one to five years, 2009–2013. Public health136, 188-191.

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