Elevated blood lead levels (EBLLs) can cause slowed growth and development, emotional and behavioral disorders and more. In 2021, CDC updated the blood lead reference value from 5.0 μg/dL to 3.5 μg/dL. In making this update, children with EBLLs can now also receive prompt actions to mitigate health effects and remove or control exposure sources.

As a parent or caregiver, there are steps you can take to understand your child’s blood lead reference value and take action to reduce the harmful effects of lead poisoning:

  1. Consult with your child’s pediatrician.
    The Allegheny County Health Department requires lead testing for all children at 9-12 months and again at 24 months. The test can be conducted in the pediatrician’s office during your regularly scheduled well visit.
  2. Once you receive the test results, learn what your child’s lead reference value means.
    Though there is no safe level of lead, a confirmed blood lead level of 3.5 μg/dL or higher means your child is suffering from lead poisoning.
  3. If your child has an EBLL, get help.
    If your child is between 0-3, contact the Alliance for Infants & Toddlers by calling 412-885-6000 for more information. If your child is 3-5 years old, contact the Allegheny Intermediate Unit – DART program by calling 412-394-5904.
  4. Spread the word.
    Talk about your experience with your family, friends and other parents. Encourage them to talk to their child’s pediatrician and learn more.