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Medical News & Perspectives
January 26, 2011

CDC Advises Pregnancy Lead Screening That Targets Populations at Risk

JAMA. 2011;305(4):347. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1961

Pregnant women who are more likely to have been exposed to lead should be routinely screened for excessive lead levels, according to a new guideline issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Although efforts to reduce lead exposure in the United States such as decades-long banning of lead in such products as gasoline and paint have led to substantial decreases in lead exposure among pregnant women, some subpopulations remain at risk. Data from the 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) suggest that about 600 000 (about 1%) of US women of childbearing age have blood levels of 5 μg/dL or higher, lower than the 10 μg/dL threshold for children, indicating they have exposure higher than background levels, according to the CDC.

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