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Early Release: Blood Lead Table, NHANES 2011-2018

From time to time, CDC updates summary measurements for its National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) biomonitoring data in Updated Tables to the National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals.

CDC is providing the revised Blood Lead Table, NHANES 2011-2018 as a standalone resource in advance of the next scheduled National Exposure Report update to aid federal, state, and local public health agencies, and others.

This table presents blood lead data gathered in four cycles of CDC’s NHANES: survey years 2011-12, 2013-14, 2015-16, and 2017-18. Data from NHANES survey years 1999-2010 can be found in Volume One of the Updated Tables, March 2021pdf icon. The NHANES survey is designed to provide nationally representative information for the civilian, non-institutionalized, U.S. population.

Periodically, CDC uses NHANES data to revise its Blood Lead Reference Value (BLRV). The BLRV is based on the 97.5th percentile of the blood lead values among U.S. children ages 1-5 years from the two most recent NHANES cycles for which data are available. The content of the National Exposure Report differs in that the tables, including this revised Blood Lead Table, NHANES 2011-2018, present summary data up to the 95th percentile for each individual NHANES cycle.

Lead was measured in whole blood from NHANES participants. The Environmental Health Laboratory in CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health used inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) analytical methods to make these measurements.

In NHANES 2013-14 and 2015-16, blood lead was measured in all participants ages 1-11 years and a random one-half subset of those ages 12 years and older; in all other cycles, blood lead was measured in all participants ages 1 year and older. The summary measures reported for NHANES 2017-18 include data for participants ages 1-5 years that are accessible only through the National Center for Health Statistics Research Data Center.

The measurement of an environmental chemical in a person’s blood is an assessment of exposure; it does not by itself mean that the chemical causes disease or an adverse effect.

Please direct any questions about this information to CDC-INFO: https://wwwn.cdc.gov/dcs/contactus/form

Notes and Additional Resources

For more information about lead, please follow the link to CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/default.htm

Statistics include geometric means and selected percentiles, with 95 percent confidence intervals around each estimated statistic. Percentiles describe the shape of the distribution. For all chemicals, the 50th, 75th, 90th, and 95th percentiles are presented.

Biomonitoring is the assessment of human exposure to chemicals by measuring the chemicals, their metabolites, or adducts in human specimens such as blood, serum, or urine.

Blood Lead (2011 – 2018)

CAS Number 7439-92-1
Geometric mean and selected percentiles of blood concentrations (in µg/dL) for the U.S. population from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Data table for Blood Lead (2011 – 2018)
Demographic
Categories
Survey
(years)
Geometric mean
(95% CI)
50th Percentile
(95% CI)
75th Percentile
(95% CI)
90th Percentile
(95% CI)
95th Percentile
(95% CI)
Sample
size
Total population 11-12 .973 (.916-1.04) .930 (.880-.980) 1.52 (1.41-1.61) 2.38 (2.17-2.61) 3.16 (2.77-3.68) 7920
Total population 13-14 .858 (.813-.906) .830 (.780-.870) 1.32 (1.24-1.42) 2.10 (1.96-2.30) 2.81 (2.49-3.14) 5215
Total population 15-16 .820 (.772-.872) .780 (.740-.840) 1.32 (1.21-1.42) 2.14 (2.02-2.24) 2.75 (2.50-2.98) 4988
Total population 17-18 .753 (.723-.784) .730 (.690-.770) 1.22 (1.17-1.27) 1.86 (1.75-1.95) 2.41 (2.24-2.67) 7513
Age 1-5 years 11-12 .970 (.877-1.07) .950 (.870-1.04) 1.34 (1.20-1.65) 2.26 (1.88-2.65) 2.91 (2.41-3.83) 713
Age 1-5 years 13-14 .782 (.705-.869) .740 (.680-.800) 1.08 (.940-1.24) 1.58 (1.33-1.90) 2.24 (1.68-2.64) 818
Age 1-5 years 15-16 .758 (.675-.850) .690 (.610-.790) 1.10 (.950-1.32) 1.86 (1.50-2.65) 2.76 (1.94-3.81) 790
Age 1-5 years 17-18 .670 (.600-.748) .620 (.540-.740) .980 (.810-1.18) 1.49 (1.28-1.72) 2.02 (1.67-2.44) 629
Age 6-11 years 11-12 .681 (.623-.744) .640 (.600-.700) .930 (.820-1.05) 1.34 (1.14-1.60) 1.89 (1.36-2.94) 1048
Age 6-11 years 13-14 .567 (.529-.607) .530 (.500-.570) .760 (.700-.820) 1.13 (1.01-1.23) 1.42 (1.21-1.83) 1075
Age 6-11 years 15-16 .571 (.523-.623) .550 (.510-.600) .780 (.720-.830) 1.18 (.970-1.44) 1.59 (1.24-2.24) 1023
Age 6-11 years 17-18 .475 (.456-.494) .460 (.430-.490) .650 (.610-.690) .930 (.840-1.04) 1.19 (1.04-1.40) 833
Age 12-19 years 11-12 .554 (.511-.601) .530 (.490-.570) .740 (.660-.830) 1.09 (.960-1.19) 1.31 (1.16-1.65) 1129
Age 12-19 years 13-14 .506 (.464-.551) .460 (.420-.500) .670 (.600-.750) 1.13 (.870-1.53) 1.69 (1.27-2.06) 627
Age 12-19 years 15-16 .467 (.433-.504) .450 (.410-.490) .680 (.610-.730) .930 (.820-1.03) 1.17 (.990-1.36) 565
Age 12-19 years 17-18 .411 (.387-.436) .390 (.370-.410) .530 (.490-.600) .830 (.730-.940) 1.09 (.930-1.45) 1030
Age 20+ years 11-12 1.09 (1.03-1.16) 1.05 (1.00-1.12) 1.67 (1.56-1.79) 2.56 (2.33-2.77) 3.36 (2.98-3.93) 5030
Age 20+ years 13-14 .967 (.921-1.02) .940 (.900-.980) 1.45 (1.37-1.55) 2.26 (2.09-2.49) 3.03 (2.65-3.55) 2695
Age 20+ years 15-16 .920 (.862-.982) .880 (.810-.960) 1.46 (1.35-1.59) 2.30 (2.15-2.44) 2.89 (2.65-3.07) 2610
Age 20+ years 17-18 .855 (.816-.895) .850 (.780-.900) 1.34 (1.27-1.43) 2.01 (1.86-2.17) 2.62 (2.41-2.86) 5021
Males 11-12 1.13 (1.06-1.21) 1.07 (1.01-1.14) 1.74 (1.63-1.88) 2.73 (2.48-3.01) 3.68 (3.18-4.22) 3968
Males 13-14 .994 (.919-1.08) .940 (.890-1.00) 1.48 (1.35-1.61) 2.41 (2.07-2.90) 3.47 (2.89-4.32) 2587
Males 15-16 .921 (.864-.981) .860 (.800-.930) 1.46 (1.33-1.60) 2.41 (2.18-2.62) 2.93 (2.75-3.26) 2488
Males 17-18 .860 (.820-.902) .830 (.760-.900) 1.35 (1.25-1.45) 2.10 (1.91-2.27) 2.79 (2.54-3.11) 3666
Females 11-12 .842 (.796-.890) .820 (.780-.860) 1.30 (1.22-1.39) 1.98 (1.83-2.22) 2.59 (2.32-2.94) 3952
Females 13-14 .746 (.715-.777) .730 (.700-.760) 1.19 (1.11-1.28) 1.86 (1.69-2.02) 2.33 (2.24-2.42) 2628
Females 15-16 .735 (.679-.795) .720 (.650-.770) 1.16 (1.04-1.31) 1.88 (1.66-2.13) 2.39 (2.21-2.65) 2500
Females 17-18 .664 (.632-.698) .640 (.590-.690) 1.08 (1.02-1.15) 1.67 (1.54-1.76) 2.11 (1.89-2.33) 3847
Mexican Americans 11-12 .838 (.767-.916) .780 (.690-.880) 1.27 (1.15-1.40) 2.05 (1.81-2.36) 3.06 (2.34-3.59) 1077
Mexican Americans 13-14 .746 (.685-.813) .690 (.650-.750) 1.17 (1.10-1.28) 1.88 (1.61-2.04) 2.38 (2.03-2.74) 969
Mexican Americans 15-16 .704 (.659-.752) .680 (.610-.730) 1.10 (.970-1.22) 1.77 (1.67-1.96) 2.39 (2.01-3.10) 994
Mexican Americans 17-18 .662 (.610-.719) .620 (.560-.680) 1.10 (1.02-1.16) 1.67 (1.49-1.92) 2.46 (1.86-3.70) 1134
Non-Hispanic blacks 11-12 .998 (.947-1.05) .910 (.850-.990) 1.53 (1.45-1.60) 2.58 (2.31-2.91) 3.72 (3.04-4.58) 2195
Non-Hispanic blacks 13-14 .871 (.787-.963) .830 (.720-.940) 1.39 (1.27-1.48) 2.17 (2.00-2.38) 3.03 (2.48-4.00) 1119
Non-Hispanic blacks 15-16 .856 (.763-.962) .790 (.700-.890) 1.32 (1.11-1.60) 2.19 (1.86-2.80) 3.11 (2.76-3.39) 1070
Non-Hispanic blacks 17-18 .766 (.736-.798) .710 (.680-.760) 1.23 (1.18-1.27) 2.03 (1.85-2.18) 2.76 (2.45-3.08) 1708
Non-Hispanic whites 11-12 .993 (.914-1.08) .960 (.880-1.03) 1.56 (1.40-1.73) 2.43 (2.11-2.74) 3.14 (2.67-3.85) 2493
Non-Hispanic whites 13-14 .882 (.820-.950) .870 (.800-.920) 1.34 (1.24-1.48) 2.20 (1.94-2.48) 2.97 (2.43-3.58) 1848
Non-Hispanic whites 15-16 .835 (.774-.900) .790 (.750-.860) 1.35 (1.23-1.49) 2.21 (2.03-2.36) 2.72 (2.39-2.98) 1511
Non-Hispanic whites 17-18 .772 (.731-.816) .750 (.690-.830) 1.24 (1.15-1.32) 1.86 (1.69-2.01) 2.35 (2.15-2.67) 2536
All Hispanics 11-12 .855 (.793-.922) .820 (.750-.880) 1.27 (1.18-1.39) 2.00 (1.86-2.23) 2.84 (2.41-3.34) 1931
All Hispanics 13-14 .742 (.695-.793) .690 (.660-.730) 1.14 (1.08-1.24) 1.80 (1.62-1.99) 2.36 (2.03-2.72) 1481
All Hispanics 15-16 .703 (.658-.750) .670 (.620-.720) 1.10 (1.01-1.18) 1.73 (1.56-2.00) 2.39 (2.00-2.97) 1664
All Hispanics 17-18 .629 (.593-.667) .580 (.550-.630) 1.01 (.950-1.08) 1.53 (1.43-1.74) 2.11 (1.78-2.94) 1816
Asians 11-12 1.15 (1.06-1.24) 1.14 (1.02-1.26) 1.70 (1.56-1.86) 2.56 (2.36-2.72) 3.28 (2.80-3.65) 1005
Asians 13-14 1.01 (.923-1.11) 1.02 (.900-1.19) 1.48 (1.35-1.66) 2.25 (2.06-2.39) 2.67 (2.37-2.86) 510
Asians 15-16 1.07 (.976-1.18) 1.08 (.920-1.20) 1.65 (1.47-1.96) 2.62 (2.11-2.92) 3.07 (2.76-3.49) 479
Asians 17-18 1.02 (.909-1.15) 1.01 (.910-1.14) 1.56 (1.38-1.79) 2.26 (2.02-2.62) 2.93 (2.59-3.59) 946
Page last reviewed: November 16, 2021
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