Far fewer children in the United States have high lead levels than 20 years ago, reports new federal research.
The study, released March 2 in the journal Pediatrics, is based on nearly 5,000 children, ages 1 to 5, who were part of a periodic government health survey. Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that just 1.4 percent of young children had elevated lead levels in their blood in 2004, the latest data available. That compares with almost 9 percent in 1988.
The 84 percent drop extends a trend that began in the 1970s when efforts began to remove lead from gasoline.
The researchers credited continuing steps to reduce children’s exposure to lead in old house paint, soil, water, and other sources for the decrease in blood-lead levels.
A version of this article appeared in the March 11, 2009 edition of Education Week