Drop even sharper for children in public housing, which saw a 12 percent reduction compared to the same period in 2017
Since 2005, there has been a nearly 90 percent decrease in the number of New York City children under 6 years old with blood lead levels of 5 mcg/dL or greater
January 3, 2019 – The Health Department today released its latest Childhood Blood Lead Level Surveillance Quarterly Report (PDF) covering the third quarter of 2018. From January to September of 2018, 278,764 children younger than 18 years old in New York City got tested for lead exposure. Of all children tested, 3,807 (1.4%) had a blood lead level of 5 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL) or higher; that is 394 fewer children citywide than the same period in 2017, or a 9 percent decline, and a 12 percent decline for children who lived or spent time in NYCHA housing. Launched in August, this quarterly report is a new initiative of the Health Department and complements the City’s annual blood lead level surveillance report (PDF). In July, the City announced a more stringent measure to reduce childhood lead exposure and became one of the first jurisdictions in the country to conduct environmental investigations for all children under 18 years old with a blood lead level of 5 micrograms per deciliter.
“While it is great news that childhood lead poisoning levels continue to decline across the city, we must continue to work to protect children from exposure to lead,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “If you have a child age 3 and under, be sure to get their blood lead level tested by their pediatrician. And, if you have peeling or damaged paint in your home, call 311.”
Lead poisoning is preventable. Avoid exposure.
A blood test is the only way to find out if you or your child has an elevated blood lead level. In New York State, children must be tested for lead poisoning at ages 1 and 2, and screened for risk up to age 6. Ask your doctor about testing older children if you think they may have been exposed to lead. Pregnant women should be assessed for lead exposure at their first prenatal visit. Call 311 for help finding a doctor or clinic.
MEDIA CONTACT: Stephanie Buhle/Michael Lanza, (347) 396-4177