Lead testing of children and homes: results of a national telephone survey

Public Health Rep. Jul-Aug 1996;111(4):342-6.


Objectives: This study was designed to estimate the percentage of young children in the United States who have been tested for lead and the percentage of dwellings in the United States in which the paint has been tested for lead.

Methods: A national random digit dial telephone survey of 5238 households was conducted in 1994. Weighted national estimates and 95% confidence intervals for outcomes of interest were calculated.

Results: About 24% of U.S. children ages 0 to 6 years were estimated to have been tested for lead. Higher rates of testing were reported for children living in homes constructed prior to 1960, those living in homes with low household income, those living in rental units, and those living in the Northeast. Lead paint testing was performed for only an estimated 9% of U.S. housing units. Older homes were not more likely to have been tested than newer ones.

Conclusion: A high proportion of pre-school children have apparently not been screened for lead exposure, even among subgroups at increased risk. Most dwellings of pre-school children have not been tested for lead paint. These data suggest that most at-risk children are not being reached by current approaches to lead poisoning prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Environmental Monitoring / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Housing / standards*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lead Poisoning / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Poverty
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telephone
  • United States