Lead screenings

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Why This Indicator Matters

Why it is important
According to the national centers for disease control, protecting children from exposure to lead is important to lifelong good health. 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.

For more information, see CDC fact sheet on elevated lead levels in children

What the data shows
As far as screenings, in four counties -- Washington, Oxford, Franklin and Androscoggin -- at least one third of all children under age 3 were screened in a year. Sagadahoc and Knox Counties had the lowest rates at approximately 15%.

In terms of the results of the screenings, see related Data Center indicator about lead paint exposure. In 2016, there were an estimated 358 children ages 0 - 3 in Maine who tested above 5 ug/dl for the presence of lead in their blood.  The cities of Lewiston/Auburn (64) and Portland/Westbrook (40) accounted for about 30% of all cases. About 11,000 children get screened each year, and of that number 2.9% - 3.5% test positive for elevated blood levels.
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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 and 24 - 36 months. For percent of screenings, the numerator is the estimated number of children ages  12 -24 months and 24 -36 months who received lead screenings and the denominator is the number of children ages 12 -24 months and 24 -36 months in Maine from the 2016 population per the Maine Office of Vital Statistics. 

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

Footnotes: Uploaded March 2018.