CDC Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program


The Lead Contamination Control Act of 1988pdf iconexternal icon authorized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to initiate program efforts to eliminate childhood lead poisoning in the United States. The CDC Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program was created as a result of this act. The program’s primary responsibilities are to:

  • Develop programs and policies to prevent childhood lead poisoning;
  • Educate the public and health care providers about childhood lead poisoning prevention;
  • Provide support to state and local health departments to:
    • determine the extent of childhood lead poisoning by screening children for elevated blood lead levels;
    • help ensure that children with elevated blood lead levels receive appropriate medical and environmental follow-up; and
    • develop population-based efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning.
  • Conduct research to determine the effectiveness of prevention efforts at federal, state, and local levels.


Since its inception, the CDC Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program has:

  • Funded over 60 state and local Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs to develop, implement, and evaluate lead poisoning prevention activities;
  • Provided technical assistance to support the development of statewide lead screening plans;
  • Developed and maintained the Childhood Blood Lead Surveillance System through which states report data to CDC;
  • Developed and maintained the HHLPSS software platform provided to state and local health departments for blood lead surveillance and case management activities;
  • Provided training to over 100 public health professionals each year through the CDC Lead Poisoning Prevention Training Center;
  • Participated with Federal, state, and local partners in the development of outreach materials for National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week held in the last week of October each year;
  • Supported the formation of collaborative relationships between CDC’s funded partners and other lead poisoning prevention organizations and agencies (e.g., community-based, nonprofit, and housing groups);
  • Fostered agreements between state and local health departments and state Medicaid agencies to link surveillance and Medicaid data;
  • Expanded public health laboratory capacity in states to analyze blood and environmental samples and to ensure quality, timely, and accurate analysis of results; and
  • Published targeted screeningpdf icon and case management guidelines that provide health departments and health care providers with standards to identify and manage children with elevated blood lead levels.

Future Directions

One of the goals of Healthy People 2020 is the elimination of childhood lead poisoning as a public health problem.  The President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Childrenexternal icon is the focal point for federal collaboration to promote and protect children’s environmental health. The Task Force’s Lead Exposures Subcommitteeexternal icon has developed a Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impactspdf iconexternal icon.

The four goals of the Federal Lead Action Plan are to:

  • Reduce Children’s Exposure to Lead Sources
  • Identify Lead-Exposed Children and Improve their Health Outcomes
  • Communicate More Effectively with Stakeholders
  • Support and Conduct Critical Research to Inform Efforts to Reduce Lead Exposures and Related Health Risks

This Action Plan will help federal agenciespdf iconexternal icon work strategically and collaboratively to reduce exposure to lead and improve children’s health along with a range of stakeholders including states, tribes and local communities; businesses; property owners; and parents.