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Surveillance of Childhood Lead Poisoning -- United States, First Quarter Fiscal Year 1982

For the first quarter of fiscal year 1982, 51 lead-poisoning control programs reported screening 92,769 children and identifying 3,061 with lead toxicity (Table 1). The reported number of children screened is 35% lower than the 143,000 tested for lead toxicity the previous quarter and is the smallest number reported screened in any quarter since early 1978.

Screening for lead toxicity is somewhat seasonal. More children are tested from April through September than from October through March--with the fourth quarter of the fiscal year (i.e., June 1-September 30) usually being the peak period. However, the 35% decline between the last quarter of fiscal year 1981 and the first quarter of fiscal year 1982 greatly exceeds the 4%-10% reduction for these periods usually seen in previous years.

The decline in the number of children reported screened in the first quarter of fiscal year 1982, as compared with the immediately preceding quarter, can be accounted for in two ways: 1) Eight fewer communities reported than in the previous quarter (several cities, such as Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, and Newark, that traditionally have reported a substantial level of activity did not report); and 2) two-thirds of the communities that did report showed decreases in numbers screened; 19 of these programs recorded declines of 20% or more--with Philadelphia having the most marked reduction--75%. Reported by Environmental Health Svcs Div, Center for Environmental Health, CDC.

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