Nicoletti, Gonson, Spinner, LLP

Lead Paint Threshold

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Wednesday that it has adopted lower threshold levels for lead exposure among children based upon the recommendations made in January by an advisory panel of experts. Previously, the threshold level was 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (mcg/dl). The new standard, applicable to children under 6, lowers the threshold to 5 mcg/dl.

The new standard represents a shift in policy, to a public health approach focusing on prevention, from a more clinical approach to lead poisoning. The idea is that no lead in a child under 6 is healthy. By lowering the blood-lead level to 5 mcg/dl, more children will be identified as being exposed and then their homes and their communities can be targeted to try to find what those sources of lead are and remove them from the environment so the child won’t get higher blood levels. It will also help future children coming into the home and community from being exposed to those lead levels.

As lead continues to be removed from the environment it is expected that this reference level will go down. The CDC will evaluate the threshold level every four years.