NCHH Calls for Restoration of Funding to Lead Poisoning Prevention as CDC Releases Latest Data


COLUMBIA, MD (April 8, 2013) – A new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  on the blood lead levels (BLLs) in children released last week shows the continued need for lead prevention and treatment programs. According to the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), the data should result in renewed commitment and funding from Congress and industry partners.

In the first Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) and first analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data that defines children’s BLLs greater than or equal to 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) as “high,” the CDC reports that 535,000 children have high BLLs. The report further demonstrates the persistence of disparities in the BLL by factors such as race and income level.  

Lead poisoning in children continues to be a national health crisis and as the demand for investigation and treatment grows, the funding is diminishing at a rapid rate. Congress’ dramatic cuts to the CDC lead program's budget from about $29 million to $2 million in 2012 forced the CDC funding to local health departments for lead prevention and treatment programs to stop. NCHH calls on Congress to help restore funding, so state and federal programs can address the lead-related health issues, which impact everything from physical to cognitive ability.

“The effect of lead poisoning in young children is irreversible. The numbers released by the CDC are alarming and the number would be even higher if every child was tested,” said Rebecca Morley, executive director of National Center for Healthy Housing.  “It is important now more than ever that funding is restored to ensure children get the help they need and to uncover the ones that have gone undiagnosed.”

Read the full press release.

The full MMWR report  is available here.

Learn More