New lead guidelines Essay

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta has revised its 1978 guidelines for the prevention of lead poisoning in young children. the 1985 standards, which appear in the Feb. 8 MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY WEEKLY REPORT, are much more stringent than those in the former version, particularly regarding dangerous levels of blood-lead concentration. The guidelines state that a concentration of 25 micrograms per deciliter ([mu]g/dl) constitutes “an excessive absorption of lead” (down from 30 [mu]g/dl in the 1978 report). Lead toxicity has been redefined as 35 [mu]g/dl (formerly 50 [mu]g/dl).

The CDC also strrongly recommends that all children between the ages of 9 months and 6 years be screened, as this group suffers the most detrimental effects of lead toxicity. “To be successful,” states the agency, “a screening program … requires not only an acceptable and cost-effective screening procedure, but also medical follow-up and means of preventing the child from future exposure to lead.”

The majority of lead poisoning cases in young children are linked to the lead-based paint used in pre-World War II housing. Although it is no longer used, the agency states that “27 million households in this country remain contaminated by lead paint.” Other sources of lead poisoning can be found in lead-soldered food cans and airborne lead from car exhaust (SN: 6/16/84, p. 373).

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