Objectives: We assessed the prevalence of elevated blood lead levels (> or = 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood), risk factors, and previous blood lead testing among children in 2 high-risk Chicago, Ill, communities.
Methods: Through high-intensity targeted screening, blood lead levels were tested and risks were assessed among a representative sample of children aged 1 to 5 years who were at risk for lead exposure.
Results: Of the 539 children who were tested, 27% had elevated blood lead levels, and 61% had never been tested previously. Elevated blood lead levels were associated with chipped exterior house paint.
Conclusions: Most of the children who lived in these communities--where the prevalence for elevated blood lead levels among children was 12 times higher than the national prevalence--were not tested for lead poisoning. Our findings highlight the need for targeted community outreach that includes testing blood lead levels in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations.