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July 1994

Feasibility and Effectiveness of Screening for Childhood Lead Poisoning in Private Medical Practice

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(7):761-764. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170070099020

Screening for childhood lead poisoning has long been the domain of public health agencies serving disadvantaged urban populations. Greater understanding of the disease, however, has altered the scope of screening. Based on a wealth of recent data showing that even low levels of lead exposure can cause lasting damage and that children of all socioeconomic, ethnic, and geographic descriptions may be exposed,1-8 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Ga, in October 1991, redefined the population in need of screening to include all "children ages 6 to 72 months... unless it can be shown that the community in which these children live does not have a childhood lead poisoning problem."9 The CDC's recommendations have since been reinforced by other research and commentary.10-18 Nonetheless, some skepticism remains with regard to the need for and feasibility of widespread screening such that acceptance of the new CDC