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Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Recommends ‪ a Work Group to Investigate Lowering Limits on Elevated Blood Lead Levels

The Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention (ACCLPP) on November 17, 2010, proposed the formation of a workgroup to recommend new approaches, terminology, and strategies for defining elevated blood lead levels among children. Approximately 250,000 U.S. children aged 1-5 years have blood lead levels greater than 10 µg/dl, the level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated. This standard was adopted in October 1991.

Lead poisoning can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead poisoning often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and, at very high levels, seizures, coma, and even death.

The anticipated charges to the workgroup may include:

  1. Recommending how to best replace the blood lead “level of concern.” Multiple approaches may be considered, including:

    • Conduct health risk assessment for lead using the same approaches as with any other chemical.

    • Conduct a risk assessment focused exclusively on IQ deficits associated with lead exposure to children that have been reported in the available literature.

    • Establish a reference range for children based on the most recent national survey of blood lead levels.

  2. Reviewing the lowest practical level of laboratory quantification of lead in blood as a possible limitation in establishing new guidance.

New advisories could be provided to state and local health departments. These advisories could suggest new terminology to replace “level of concern” and update existing recommendations concerning increases in blood lead levels over time, re-screening intervals, notification procedures and other interventions.

The workgroup would bring its findings to the next ACCLPP meeting.

The recommendations of the ACCLPP are forwarded to the Director of CDC and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) for review. If the ACCLPP recommendations are accepted by the CDC Director and the Secretary of HHS, they are published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and become recommendations of CDC.

The ACCLPP consists of 13 regular voting members knowledgeable in fields associated with childhood lead poisoning who have been selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Committee also includes 9 nonvoting ex officio members representing additional agencies of the U.S. government and 9 nonvoting liaison representatives representing organizations with interests in childhood lead poisoning prevention.

The goal of the ACCLPP is to provide advice that will assist the nation in reducing the incidence and prevalence of childhood lead poisoning.

Its charter calls for the ACCLPP to:

  • review and report regularly on childhood lead poisoning prevention practices;
  • recommend improvement in national childhood lead poisoning prevention efforts; and
  • develop written recommendations for the prevention and control of childhood lead poisoning.