Lead Poisoning Data and Data Analysis

The number of children tested and found to be lead poisoned in 2017 and 2018 are now available.

The Wisconsin Environmental Public Health Tracking Program webpage is a resource that allows you to query data on childhood lead poisoning in Wisconsin and other environmental and health topics.

Information on this page has been organized into two categories.  Please choose one of the following tabs.

Annual Numbers

The annual blood lead testing reports on childhood lead poisoning in Wisconsin include the number of children tested and poisoned and the number of cases (level of lead in blood that requires intervention) at age one, age two, ages zero to five, and ages three to five not previously tested for each local health department jurisdiction. For 2003 to 2010, the reports also include prevalence rates and rates for children enrolled in Medicaid and WIC programs.

These annual reports for Wisconsin comprise local health department jurisdiction and statewide totals and rates of the number of children tested for lead and found to be lead poisoned. A child with a BLL of 20 mcg/dL or greater represents a "case" and requires public health intervention. Thus, the reports before 2010 also include the number of cases of children with extremely high levels of lead by health department jurisdiction.

In 2012, CDC lowered the reference level for intervention from 10 mcg/dL to 5 mcg/dL, increasing the number of Wisconsin children under age 6 found to be lead exposed by a factor of five. The data report for 2011 - 2013 is in a different format from previous years. In addition to the number of children at 10 mcg/dL or greater, it includes the number and rate (percent) of children with BLLs between 5 and 9 mcg/dL. Reports after 2014 only report BLLs of 5 mcg/dL or greater.

Reports are available as PDF files for the following years:

Time Trends

This tab contains graphs showing the trends of the number of children tested for lead poisoning and the number of children found to be lead poisoned in Wisconsin.

Lead poisoning in children is defined in Wisconsin Statute Chapter 254.11 (9) as a level of lead in the blood of 5 or more micrograms per 100 milliliters of blood.

Tested for Lead

The number of children tested for lead poisoning remained static from 2001 to 2006 at about 80,000 children per year and then increased in 2007 through 2011 (see graph below) to more than 100,000 children annually. From 2012-2015 the number of children under age 6 tested for lead declined. Since 2015 the number of children under age 6 tested for lead has remained relatively stable at around 88,000 children tested.

Graph of number of children under 6 tested for lead 2006-2018

Poisoned by Lead

The number of children with lead poisoning has shown a decline over time, although in the most recent years there is little change in prevalence of lead poisoning among children tested (prevalence of 4.9%, 4.9%, and 4.5% in 2016, 2017, and 2018, respectively). The incidence of newly identified lead poisoning cases has shown similar patterns to prevalence of all lead poisoning cases; the incidence in 2018 was 3.2% (compared with 3.8% in 2016 and 3.6% in 2017).

Graph of number of children under age 6 with blood lead lever greater or equal to 5mcg/dl

 

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Last Revised: November 13, 2019