Panel recommends lower limit for lead poisoning in children

January 11, 2012

Atlanta – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention is urging the agency to lower the standard definition of lead poisoning in children to 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood from the current level of 10 micrograms.

Younger children may suffer from reduced intelligence, impaired hearing and negative behavioral outcomes from concentrations of lead lower than the current standard, according to a report (.pdf file) released Jan. 4 by the advisory committee. Approximately 450,000 U.S. children have blood-lead levels above 5 micrograms, according to the report.

The threshold for lead poisoning has not been changed in 20 years. CDC officials have three months to make a decision on the matter.