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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.

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

    • The number of children identified with lead poisoning in Wisconsin has declined each year from 2004 to 2010.

    • 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.

    • Due to the wealth of research showing significant learning and behavioral effects of lead on children at levels below 10mcg/dL, in May 2012, CDC lowered the level of concern to the reference value of 5mcg/dL for precautionary action. In 2011, compared with just over 1,300 children at the level of 10mcg/dL, Wisconsin had more than 8,000 children with unsafe levels of lead (5mcg/dL or greater).  See the details.

  • Wisconsin Health Care Providers: Are they testing the right children?

    • Annually, the Medicaid Provider Blood Lead Testing Report is sent to Wisconsin health care providers who provide medical care to children enrolled in the Medicaid program. The individualized report summarizes the provider's  blood lead testing data for children under age 6.

    • Medicaid Providers Blood Lead Testing Performance Data (PDF, 495 KB) . Data was presented at the Wisconsin Implementation and Oversight Committee to Eliminate Lead Poisoning, on September 19, 2010, on health care provider blood lead testing performance, lead hazard reduction activity and factors affecting the decrease in children's blood lead levels.

    • In 2010, the Wisconsin Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, state and local Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutritional support agencies, Badgercare+ and managed care organizations teamed up to launch a program integrating rapid blood lead testing in Wisconsin WIC clinics. In the first 10 months of the program, testing rates at Milwaukee region WIC clinics increased by 41% and the number of children identified as lead poisoned increased by over 300% over the previous year. In April 2012, the Medicaid Health Plans of America Center for Best Practices honored the Wisconsin partnership program with the 2012 Children's Health Award (Exit DHS).

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Last Revised: January 14, 2014