Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content
CDC Home

Current Trends Surveillance of Childhood Lead Poisoning -- United States

In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 1981, 59 childhood lead-poisoning prevention programs reported that 143,000 children were screened, and 6,500 were identified with lead toxicity. For the fiscal year, programs screened 535,000 children (the largest number ever tested in a single year), found almost 22,000 with the disease, and referred 23,000 for treatment for iron deficiency.

Childhood lead toxicity is found throughout the United States in both large and small communities. The Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1976-1980 (NHANES II)--conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics to measure blood-lead levels in the general U.S. population--showed that 4% of all children, ages 6 months-5 years, had elevated blood-lead levels. Positivity rates ranged from 2.1% in rural areas to 11.6% in inner cities.

Since 1973, childhood lead-poisoning prevention programs have reported screening almost 3,900,000 children, 243,000 (6.2%) with lead toxicity. Because of the pervasiveness of childhood lead toxicity, many state and local child health programs have included lead screening as a routine service for all patients, ages 1-5 years. In fiscal year 1981, 70% of the children reported as being screened were initially tested in these other child health programs.

Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

References to non-CDC sites on the Internet are provided as a service to MMWR readers and do not constitute or imply endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CDC is not responsible for the content of pages found at these sites. URL addresses listed in MMWR were current as of the date of publication.

All MMWR HTML versions of articles are electronic conversions from typeset documents. This conversion might result in character translation or format errors in the HTML version. Users are referred to the electronic PDF version ( and/or the original MMWR paper copy for printable versions of official text, figures, and tables. An original paper copy of this issue can be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402-9371; telephone: (202) 512-1800. Contact GPO for current prices.

**Questions or messages regarding errors in formatting should be addressed to The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
A-Z Index
  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #