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Analysis of Wisconsin Childhood Lead Poisoning Data

Statewide surveillance of childhood lead poisoning in Wisconsin has been conducted since 1991. Lead poisoning in children is defined in Wisconsin Statute Chapter 254.11 (9) as a level of lead in the blood of 10 or more micrograms per 100 milliliters of blood. Due to the wealth of research showing significant learning, behavioral and lifelong health effects of lead on children at levels below 10 mcg/dL, in May 2012, CDC lowered the level of concern to the reference value of 5 mcg/dL for precautionary action. This increases the number of children found to be lead exposed by a factor of 5.

In Wisconsin, how many children have been lead poisoned over the last ten years?

  • The number of children tested for lead poisoning remained static from 2004 to 2006 at about 80,000 children per year and then increased in 2007 through 2011 to more than 100,000 children. After 2010, testing started to decline again (see graph below; click on it to enlarge for easier viewing).

    The time trend for the number of children found to be lead poisoned (10 mcg/dL) was on the decline from 2000 to 2013, however, looking at the number of children at the lower reference value of 5 mcg/dL, the increase in the number of children is sizeable (see graph below; click on it to enlarge for easier viewing.).

  • Which Wisconsin children are most at risk for lead poisoning?

  • Age of Child

  • Age of Housing

  • Socioeconomic Status

  • Racial and Ethnic Disparities

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    Last Revised: May 02, 2014