Study: Big Drop In Rate Of U.S. Kids With High Lead Levels

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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Monday, March 2, 2009

One researcher calls it "a public health success story."

The latest government research says far fewer kids have high lead levels than 20 years ago, and credits continuing efforts to get lead out of paint, water and soil.

Lead can interfere with the developing nervous system and cause permanent problems with learning, memory and behavior.

According to the latest data available, just 1.4% of young children had elevated lead levels in their blood in 2004. That compares with almost 9% in 1988.

The drop extends a trend that began in the 1970s when efforts began to remove lead from gasoline.

The study in the March edition of the journal Pediatrics is based on nearly 5,000 children, ages 1 to 5, who were part of a periodic government health survey.

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