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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 (CC BY 3.0).
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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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