[to top of second column]
Health officials have been focused on young children, who are most affected by lead poisoning. The CDC recommends testing for children who live in old housing or might otherwise be exposed to lead. About 15 percent of young children are tested, according to the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, a Baltimore-based organization.
For older children and adults, there is no lead poisoning threshold, although pregnant women should have blood lead levels below 5 micrograms to protect the developing fetus. Most cases in adults come from manufacturing jobs or hobbies, but those numbers have also been declining.
Some health officials consider the CDC's action overdue. Cleveland and other cities in northeastern Ohio adopted a standard of 5 micrograms five years ago.
The CDC was following recommendations made to the agency in January by an advisory panel of experts. But Portier said the agency wasn't able to do everything the panel suggested.
For example, the panel said the CDC should do more to make sure no children are exposed to lead hazards. It also said all doctors should report high levels to local health departments, re-test the children to see if they improve, and help teach parents how to find and eliminate lead sources. The CDC agreed that should happen, but doesn't have the money or staff to bolster such an effort. Congress cut the CDC lead program's budget from about $29 million last year to $2 million.
In many places, it's up to city and county health departments to provide many of the services for lead poisoned kids, and those departments have lost more than 34,000 jobs in the last three years because of budget cuts.
The timing is unfortunate, Morley said. "But we wouldn't want to keep information from parents just because there's not money to provide the service," she added.
CDC's lead page: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Recent articles
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor