Author Affiliation: Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga.
Despite dramatic reductions in population lead exposure over the past 2 decades, nearly
900,000 US children younger than 6 years still have elevated
blood lead levels (≥0.483 µmol/L [≥10 µg/dL]).1,2
The problem disproportionately affects low-income children living in
older dwellings. Available data suggest that subtle health effects,
such as lower IQ scores in children, may extend to blood lead levels
well below the 0.483-µmol/L (10-µg/dL) threshold.3
While not as well studied, an association between blood lead levels in
this range and cognitive function of middle-aged and elderly men has
also been reported.4 Further research may continue to
redefine what constitutes an entirely "safe" level.
Matte TD. Reducing Blood Lead LevelsBenefits and Strategies. JAMA. 1999;281(24):2340-2342. doi:10.1001/jama.281.24.2340