Lead Information for Health Care Providers
The misconceptions that many physicians and health care providers have regarding lead exposure are rooted in history. Even as recently as the 1960’s, medical school students were told that levels as high as 5 ug/dL were acceptable limits of lead for children.
These levels are no longer considered acceptable and in 1991, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines stating that 10 ug/dL should be the new level of concern for physicians.
By November, 2007, the CDC amended its statement, declaring that any detectable lead in the blood of a child is cause for concern.
Research indicates low levels of lead exposure cause the greatest damage to the developing brain. Research also suggests that health care providers need to focus on blood lead screening. Recent national data show approximately two in every 100 children ages 1 to 5 have lead poisoning. Data collected by the Southern Nevada Health District indicates that approximately one in four children in Southern Nevada have a detectable blood lead level.
Lead exposure has a wide range of harmful effects on children, including irreparable loss of intelligence, behavior problems, Attention Deficit Disorder, learning difficulties, brain damage, headaches, hearing problems, anemia, coma and death. These effects harm the lives of children across the country and Nevada is not an exception.
All health care providers need to screen for lead exposure, it’s the only way to ensure the health of the child.
- CDC – Lead – ACCLPP’s Current Activities
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Lead Exposure and Lead Poisoning – https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/lead-exposure/Pages/default.aspx
- DC Updates Guidelines for Children’s Lead Exposure. Environ Health Perspect. 2012 Jul; 120(7): a268
- CDC Updates Guidelines for Children’s Lead Exposure – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404672/
- Recommendations of the Advisory Committee for Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention [PDF – 890 KB]
- Interpreting and Managing Blood Lead Levels <10 µg/dL in Children and Reducing Childhood Exposures to Lead – CDC MMWR Newsletter
- Intellectual Impairment in Children with Blood Lead Concentrations below 10 µg per Deciliter – The New England Journal of Medicine
Phone: (702) 759-1800
Updated on: April 2, 2019