Children who have an increased likelihood of lead poisoning are less likely to receive follow-up testing than other children, according to a study by researchers at the University of Michigan that was published in the May 11 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study examined state Medicaid records from 2002 and the first half of 2003 for 3,682 Michigan children age 6 or younger. The authors wanted to determine how many of the children who had shown elevated lead levels in a blood screening were later tested within 180 days to confirm the earlier finding. Follow-up testing was received by 54 percent of the children who showed elevated levels—a low rate, the researchers said. Moreover, the rate of follow-up testing was significantly lower for Hispanic or nonwhite children than for white children, and for children living in urban rather than rural areas.