Federal cuts to lead poisoning prevention programs concern city, state officials


The Plain Dealer
Angela Townsend
January 22, 2012

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The federal government is considering a recommendation that would lower the limit at which children under age 6 should receive mandatory treatment for lead poisoning.

For more than 20 years, a blood lead level higher than 10 micrograms/deciliter in a child has been the indicator for lead poisoning. An advisory committee wants the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lower that to 5 micrograms/deciliter, which would mean treatment for hundreds of thousands more children across the country.

Based on the federal definition for lead poisoning, the blood tests of 945 children under age 6 who lived in Cuyahoga County in 2010 showed lead poisoning. The county had the highest percentage of lead poisoning of any county in Ohio, with 4.19 percent of children at elevated blood lead levels. The blood levels of an additional 3,405 children tested in 2010 were at the new, lower recommended level.

The recommendation might lead one to think that the federal government is prepared to increase funding for programs designed to eliminate childhood lead poisoning.

On the contrary, state and local officials are bracing for budget cuts that could put those programs in jeopardy.

Click here to read the full article.

Learn More