In the first analysis of children’s blood lead levels since federal officials revised the definition of what is considered a high amount, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report says that about 535,000 children ages 1 to 5 nationwide have elevated blood levels.
In a report this month, the agency said that about 2.6 percent of the nation’s children in that age bracket have lead levels greater than or equal to 5 micrograms per deciliter—a new, lower amount that the CDC decided last year is enough to pose a risk to children’s health.
Some researchers believe that even lower levels of lead in children than even the new CDC standard can have an effect on children’s academic achievement. The CDC notes that while the number of children with elevated blood levels has declined dramatically over the past 40 years, some children remain at risk for the effects of lead.
Lead exposure, the agency says, can affect nearly every system in the body but often with no obvious symptoms.
A version of this article appeared in the April 17, 2013 edition of Education Week as Lead Levels Elevated in 500,000 Children