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Percent of Children Tested who are Lead Poisoned

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Lead is a significant environmental threat to children, particularly those under the age of six.  Children are considered lead poisoned if their blood levels are greater than 10 micrograms per deciliter, although research suggests that blood lead levels between 5 - 10 micrograms per deciliter can also be harmful to children.  Despite this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not lowered the lead poisoning threshold.  Children can be exposed to lead in soil, water, air, and even some toys, but the most common source of lead poisoning is from lead based paint found in homes built prior to 1979 when lead additives were banned from use in residential paints.  Children with elevated blood lead levels may have neurological and physiological damage and subsequently experience lowered IQs, shortened attention spans, and learning and behavioral problems.  Because children who are lead poisoned often do not exhibit any symptoms, a blood test is the only reliable way of knowing whether or not a child has been exposed to hazardous amounts of lead.  Low-income children are at an increased risk of lead poisoning because of the older housing stock in which they often reside. Those who receive Medicaid are entitled to receive lead screenings at regular intervals, but frequently do not.

Percent of Children Tested who are Lead Poisoned

The Top 10 results for 2012 (ranked by % Lead Poisoned)

Zip Code% Lead PoisonedLead Poisioned ChildrenTotal TestedYear

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Calculation: (Number of children under age six with blood lead levels over 10 micrograms per deciliter/Number of children tested for lead poisoning) X 100.
Calculations made by Vision for Children at Risk.
* Data not available. The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services do not release testing data for ZIP codes with fewer than 5 children testing positive for lead poisoning.
** Data Not Available.
† Denotes ZIP codes where fewer than 10 children were tested for lead poisoning.

U.S: 1.6%
MO: 2.3%
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2005)
IL: 4.8%
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2003)

ZIP codes with a child population of less than 300. Calculations for ZIP codes with low populations are especially subject to an otherwise acceptable margin of error in the population estimate. Please interpret data accordingly and refer to source data and raw data numbers when necessary.