Childhood Lead Poisoning Indicators
The Tracking Network uses state and local childhood lead poisoning prevention programs to obtain state and local data about childhood blood lead levels. When a child is tested for lead poisoning, state and local childhood lead poisoning prevention programs collect information about the child, including the child’s test results and any potential sources of lead in the child’s environment. These programs share some of this information with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to compile in a national database. CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program provides technical and financial assistance to state and local programs and provides national guidance and policy for the prevention and treatment of childhood lead poisoning.
The Iowa EHTP web portal includes the following measures:
- Blood Lead Levels by Birth Cohort Under the Age of 3 Years - This indicator uses data collected by state and local childhood lead poisoning prevention programs. It provides information about blood lead testing and blood lead levels among children born in the same year, known as a birth cohort. The number of children tested with blood lead levels greater than or equal to 10 µg/dL cannot be interpreted as prevalence or incidence for the population. Iowa requires all children to be tested (universal testing) while other states only require at-risk children to be tested (targeted testing). State-to-state comparisons must be made cautiously because of differences in testing policies.
- Housing Age - This indicator is measured as part of the 2000 US Census. It provides information about the number of homes built before 1950 in a specific area. This information helps assess testing within areas of high risk-pre-1950s homes which is a known risk for elevated blood lead levels in children. However, the following limitations to these data are important to note: Testing policies differ by state; census data do not account for the number of pre-1950s houses that have been renovated or have had lead removed; and this indicator does not consider other sources of lead in the community.
- Children Under 5 years of age living in poverty - this indicator uses census data to provide information about and the poverty level in a specific area. Living in poverty has been identified as a risk factor for elevated blood lead levels in children.