The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took action in 2012, setting a new and lowered public health standard for the allowance of childhood exposure to lead. They made the claim that while there is no acceptable level of lead in a child’s bloodstream, action must be taken once a child under 6 years old reaches a blood lead level of 5 micro-grams per deciliter. While the CDC’s action level is much lower than HUD or any other agency, they are now in the works to reduce the threshold even more, bringing it from 5 micro-grams per deciliter to 3.5.
Although lowering the blood lead threshold from 5 to 3.5 sounds to be ideal in protecting all children, it has proven to be a controversial topic as many believe it will take the focus and resources away from children that are severely poisoned and in need of assistance. The CDC has estimated that as many as 500,000 U.S. children have lead levels at or above the current threshold of 5 micro-grams per deciliter. The CDC urges case management to occur for poisoned children with lead levels at or above the threshold, but it is often the responsibility of the state or local health department to take action. Lead remediation is under-funded and not prioritized, particularly in urban areas that require the most attention. This results in families unable to protect their children from the hazards that exist when living in a home containing lead paint.
Read the full article on the CDC’s consideration of lowering the threshold for lead exposure here.