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CDC's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program


The Lead Contamination Control Act of 1988 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 were to

  • Develop programs and policies to prevent childhood lead poisoning and other housing-related health hazards.
  • Educate the public and health care providers about childhood lead poisoning and other housing-related health hazards.
  • Provide funding to state and local health departments to determine the extent of childhood lead poisoning by screening children for elevated blood lead levels, helping to ensure that lead-poisoned infants and children receive medical and environmental follow-up, and developing neighborhood-based efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning.
  • Support research to determine the effectiveness of prevention efforts at federal, state, and local levels.


Since its inception, the CDC childhood lead poisoning prevention effort has

  • Funded nearly 60 childhood lead poisoning prevention programs to develop, implement, and evaluate lead poisoning prevention activities.
  • Provided technical assistance to support the development of state and local lead screening plans.
  • Fostered agreements between state and local health departments and state Medicaid agencies to link surveillance and Medicaid data.
  • Provided training to public health professionals through CDC’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Training Center.
  • 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).
  • Developed the Childhood Blood Lead Surveillance System through which states can report data to CDC.
  • Expanded public health laboratory capacity in states to analyze blood and environmental samples and to ensure quality, timely, and accurate analysis of results.
  • Published targeted screening 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.

CDC, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other agencies have developed a federal interagency strategy to achieve this goal by 2020. The key elements of this interagency strategy include

  1. Identification and control of lead paint hazards;
  2. Identification and care for children with elevated blood lead levels;
  3. Surveillance of elevated blood lead levels in children to monitor progress; and
  4. Research to further improve childhood lead poisoning prevention methods.

Eliminating Childhood Lead Poisoning: A Federal Strategy Targeting Lead Paint Hazards[PDF - 4.1 MB]