Preventing Childhood Lead Poisoning

Exposure to lead continues to poison young children in the United States. Estimates based on data from 1999 through 2002 indicate that 310,000 U.S. children between the ages of one and five remain at risk for exposure to harmful lead levels. The U.S. estimated prevalence rate (total number of cases out of the total number screened) is 1.6% for children in this age group. However, blood lead levels (BLLs) remain higher for certain populations, especially children in minority populations, children from low-income families, and children who live in older homes. Lead exposure can cause devastating and irreversable effects.

From 1999-2003 more than 1,500 of the 29,000 St. Louis City children younger than age 6 were poisoned by lead each year. The good news is that lead poisoning is entirely preventable. In 2003, Mayor Francis G. Slay introduced the “Comprehensive Action Plan to Eliminate Childhood Lead Poisoning in St. Louis”. This plan focuses on prevention of childhood lead poisoning. By 2007 the progress from the plan has helped the City reach its first important goal: to cut childhood lead poisoning in half in four years. But even with this progress, one child in 20 in the City of St. Louis has a blood lead level at or above the CDC level of concern. You have the power to help protect your children and family from the dangers of lead poisoning.