CDC’s Childhood Lead State Surveillance Data
Childhood blood lead surveillance systems at the state-level integrate information from several sources including: state and local childhood lead poisoning prevention programs, public and private laboratories, and information from health, environmental, and housing agencies. States maintain their own child-specific databases in order to identify duplicate test results or sequential test results on individual children. These databases contain follow-up data on children with elevated blood lead levels including data on medical treatment, environmental investigations, and potential sources of lead exposure. States extract fields from their child-specific surveillance databases and de-identify the data before transferring records to CDC for inclusion in the national database.
Objectives of childhood lead poisoning surveillance programs at the state and local levels are to:
- Identify children at-risk for lead exposure to target testing and follow-up resources;
- Target high-risk geographic areas to develop statewide screening recommendations;
- Identify emerging sources of exposure and inform strategic plans to remove or reduce sources;
- Evaluate the timeliness and efficacy of case management services available to children with lead poisoning and work with inspectors and risk assessors to ensure safe living environments;
- Target educational efforts aimed at pediatric health care providers;
- Serve as the basis for a waiver for universal blood lead testing of children enrolled in Medicaid (if appropriate).
States funded by CDC for childhood lead poisoning prevention and surveillance are required to report childhood lead data on a quarterly basis. CDC processes and validates data submissions on an ongoing basis and works with the states to reconcile any submission errors in required data fields. State or local health departments requiring technical assistance or additional information, should email the surveillance support team mailbox at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
State surveillance data tables show county-level summary data of blood lead levels among children <72 months of age for a given year by county and blood lead level group.
In 2021, CDC lowered the blood lead reference value from 5 to 3.5 μg/dL. Data tables produced prior to the change in BLRV reported children with confirmed blood lead levels greater than or equal to 5 or 10 μg/dL.
CDC recommends children with a blood lead level at or above the blood lead reference value of 3.5 μg/dL be referred for follow-up, per CDC guidance.