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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9(11), 3934-3942; doi:10.3390/ijerph9113934
Article

Increased Incidence and Altered Risk Demographics of Childhood Lead Poisoning: Predicting the Impacts of the CDC’s 5 µg/dL Reference Value in Massachusetts (USA)

1,*  and 2,3
1 Wellesley College, Department of Environmental Studies, 21 Wellesley College Road, c/o Daniel Brabander, Wellesley, MA 02481, USA 2 Geosciences Department, Wellesley College, 21 Wellesley College Road, Wellesley, MA 02481, USA 3 Exposure, Epidemiology and Risk Program, Harvard School of Public Health Landmark Center, Room 404 West, 401 Park Drive, Boston, MA 02215, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 September 2012 / Revised: 13 October 2012 / Accepted: 16 October 2012 / Published: 30 October 2012
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Abstract

In May 2012, the CDC adopted a new sliding scale reference value for childhood lead poisoning, reducing the former 10 µg/dL benchmark by half. Using Massachusetts (MA) as a model state, we estimated the change in the population of 9–47 month-olds at risk for lead poisoning. We then examined the impact of the 5 µg/dL reference value on the demographic characteristics of lead risk in MA communities. We find that the new CDC benchmark will lead to a 1470% increase in childhood lead poisoning cases among 9–47 month-olds in MA, with nearly 50% of the examined communities experiencing an increased prevalence of lead poisoning. Further, the top 10 MA communities with BLLs ≥5 µg/dL have significantly fewer foreign-born residents and significantly larger white populations than the highest risk communities formerly identified by the MA Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. The CDC’s new 5 µg/dL lead poisoning benchmark will drastically increase the number of children with elevated BLLs and alter the distribution and demographics high-risk communities in MA.
Keywords: lead poisoning; community health; risk; demographics; public health; Massachusetts; CDC lead poisoning; community health; risk; demographics; public health; Massachusetts; CDC
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Handler, P.; Brabander, D. Increased Incidence and Altered Risk Demographics of Childhood Lead Poisoning: Predicting the Impacts of the CDC’s 5 µg/dL Reference Value in Massachusetts (USA). Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9, 3934-3942.

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