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Neuroscience For Kids

Good News on the Lead Front
May 6, 2009 lead graph

Finally some good news to report about lead contamination: fewer children in the United States have high levels of lead in their bodies. This is the conclusion made by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who compared the lead levels in children aged 1 to 5 years old from three time periods, 1988-1991, 1991-1994 and 1999-2004.

In 1988 to 1991, 8.6% of the children tested had elevated lead levels (more than 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood). The percentage of children with this high level of lead dropped to 4.4% in 1991-1994 and to 1.4% in 1999-2004.

lead graph Efforts to eliminate sources of lead in the environment likely have helped reduce lead contamination. For example, lead was removed from gasoline in the 1970s and lead is no longer added to house paint. Also, organizations such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission help by making people aware of products that contain lead.

Because there are no "safe" levels of lead in the body, some people may argue that all children should have low levels of lead. Therefore, efforts to reduce lead exposure should be continued.

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