This is a difficult question to answer. We know that even low levels of lead can cause small changes in a child’s growing brain. However, we are unable to predict which children will have problems in the future due to their lead exposure. Some lead exposed children seem to do fine.
About 2.5% of children in the United States have a blood lead level equal to or above 5 micrograms per deciliter, which is considered elevated. Most children test lower than 5 micrograms per deciliter, however very few are close to zero. Elevated blood lead is most typically the result of contact with lead-based paint in the home.
Points of Reference
Here are some comparison levels to help you understand you or your child’s blood lead results:
- The average lead level in children in the U.S. is around 1 micrograms per deciliter.
- The average lead level of children in Lake County, Indiana is around 2 micrograms per deciliter.
- The average lead level in 1980 in the U.S. was around 15 micrograms per deciliter. Lead levels have declined significantly since then because lead was removed from gasoline and paint.