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Childhood Lead Poisoning Data, Statistics, and Surveillance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program compiles state surveillance data for children age <72 months who were tested for lead at least once since January 1, 1997.

A blood lead test is the best way to measure lead exposure. Children are given a blood test to determine the level of lead in their blood.

The amount of lead in blood is referred to as blood lead level (BLL). BLLs are measured in micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (μg/dL).

There is no known identified safe BLL. Exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health. Millions of children are being exposed to lead in their homes, increasing their risks for

  • damage to the brain and nervous system,
  • slowed growth and development,
  • learning and behavior problems (e.g., reduced IQ, ADHD, juvenile delinquency, and criminal behavior), and
  • hearing and speech problems.

Funded health departments are required to provide data to CDC; other health departments are not.

These data were collected for program management purposes. These data have limitations, and we cannot compare across states or counties because data collection methods vary across grantees. The data are not generalizable at the national, state, or local level. Learn more about CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Data.