Prevention of Childhood Lead Toxicity

Pediatrics. 2016 Jul;138(1):e20161493. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-1493. Epub 2016 Jun 20.


Blood lead concentrations have decreased dramatically in US children over the past 4 decades, but too many children still live in housing with deteriorated lead-based paint and are at risk for lead exposure with resulting lead-associated cognitive impairment and behavioral problems. Evidence continues to accrue that commonly encountered blood lead concentrations, even those below 5 µg/dL (50 ppb), impair cognition; there is no identified threshold or safe level of lead in blood. From 2007 to 2010, approximately 2.6% of preschool children in the United States had a blood lead concentration ≥5 µg/dL (≥50 ppb), which represents about 535 000 US children 1 to 5 years of age. Evidence-based guidance is available for managing increased lead exposure in children, and reducing sources of lead in the environment, including lead in housing, soil, water, and consumer products, has been shown to be cost-beneficial. Primary prevention should be the focus of policy on childhood lead toxicity.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Dust
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lead Poisoning / diagnosis
  • Lead Poisoning / epidemiology
  • Lead Poisoning / etiology
  • Lead Poisoning / prevention & control*
  • Paint / toxicity
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Water Pollution, Chemical / adverse effects


  • Dust