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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.