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July 1994

Lead: Who Bears the Burden?

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(7):760-761. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170070098019

Few pediatric public health issues have generated as much publicity, controversy, and concern as that of exposure to lead and its effects on the developing nervous system. Although debate continues regarding the actual effects in children of exposure to low levels of lead, consensus exists that the toxic effects of exposure to lead carry neurobehavioral risks at levels as low as 0.48 μmol/L (10 μg/dL). Heightened awareness of the risks for exposure to low levels of lead gave rise to the 1991 recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for preventing exposures to toxic levels of lead in young children.1 Acceptable blood lead levels were modified from the 1985 standards of 1.21 μmol/L (25 μg/dL) to 0.48 μmol/L (10 μg/dL). Testing of blood lead levels is recognized as the only reliable method of screening. Essentially, children with levels of 0.48 to 1.21 μmol/L (10 to 25