Too many kids have too much lead and it’s everyone’s problem.
- In Cleveland, East Cleveland, and Cuyahoga County, too many kids have too much lead and it’s everyone’s problem. Of children tested in 2009, 17% in the entire County, 21% in Cleveland and 32% in East Cleveland had levels of lead that could diminish their life-chances.
- Lead poisoning is a tragedy for the child and their family. When rates are this high, it is tragedy for the entire community. It’s everybody’s problem. If you’re worried about school performance, worry about lead. If you’re worried about crime, worry about lead. If you’re worried about workforce readiness, worry about lead.
- Most of the costs –for the children, for their families and for the community –cannot be calculated. But for some interventions and outcomes associated with childhood lead poisoning, we can make reasonable estimates of the dollar cost. We looked at the lifetime costs for the 6,500 children tested in 2004 with elevated blood-lead levels. A new Economic Policy Institute study also researches the costs and benefits of lead hazard control, concluding there are significant returns to investing in early action controlling lead.
What Is Lead Poisoning?
- The amount of lead in a child’s blood is measured in micrograms of lead per tenth of a liter of blood (mcg/dL). In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control established a lead level of 5 mcg/dL or greater as the “level-of-concern” (now commonly considered “lead-poisoned”). The level of concern is the level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated. At the time, CDC did not define the threshold of 5 mcg/dL as “lead poisoning.” However, this is an important step in acknowledging damage below 10 mcg/dL.
- As evidence of lead’s damage at lower levels continues to accumulate, there are increasing calls for CDC to lower the level of concern threshhold. See Lead’s Damage Below Currently Accepted Levels, American Public Health Association and A Small Dose
Above: Graph modified from A Small Dose
New Level of Awareness for Cuyahoga County
- In 2007, The four public health departments in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland Department of Public Health, Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Lakewood Department of Human Services and the Shaker Heights Health Department), based on research by the Medical Committee of the Greater Cleveland Lead Advisory Council, recommend a child blood-lead level of 5mcg/dL be used as a new level of awareness in the region, the level at which response should be initiated. See Lead Facts for Greater Cleveland Health Care Providers and LEAD Testing Requirements and Medical Management Recommendations Chart.
- The new level of awareness at 5 mcg/dL recognizes that many more children than previously acknowledged are potentially hurt by lead -more than 21% of children tested in Cleveland and more than 32% in East Cleveland. Lead poisoning and increased blood lead levels have permanent affects on the well-being and health of a child, regardless of later lower blood lead levels.
Lead Hazards in Cleveland Housing
- Lead Hazard Report 2011
- “Analysis of Lead Hazard Control Data, Disclosure, Risk Assessment and Clearance Data, Prevalence, and Multiple Poisoning Cases” Prepared by EHW for the Cleveland Department of Public Health.
Other Lead Pages
- Childhood Lead Poisoning Resources
- Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Childhood Lead Poisoning Rates
- Lead Poisoning Laws