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Childhood Lead Poisoning

  • Purpose:To track the elimination of childhood lead poisoning in Rhode Island
  • Key Information: Numbers of children younger than age 6 whose blood lead levels are "of concern". (Blood lead levels are measured in micrograms per deciliter (mc/dL)). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently defines any blood lead level greater than or equal to 5 mc/dL as a level of concern. (Prior to 2012 the CDC defined any blood lead level greater than or equal to 5 mc/dL as a level of concern. (more)
  • Collection Period: 2000 to present

Rhode Island Numbers

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Childhood Lead Poisoning Statewide 2002 - 2012

New Cases (Incidence)

  • An estimated 80% of Rhode Island homes were built before 1978 and likely contain lead-based paint which is the most common source of lead exposure to children in Rhode Island.
  • Changing the blood lead level of concern from >10 mcg/dL to >5mcg/dl caused the incidence rate to increase from 0.7% to 5% in 2012

By Urban Area

  • Cities where the child poverty level is greater than 15% are designated as core cites. (more)
  • Although Rhode Island cities and towns have experienced a dramatic decline in incidence over the last ten years, cases of lead poisoning continue to concentrate in the core cities.

Source: Rhode Island Department of Health Lead Elimination Surveillance System.
Note: Data are based on venous tests and confirmed capillary tests.

New Cases (Incidence), By Municipality, 2012

Note: High lead levels are those for which children who have not previously had an elevated lead blood lead level of greater than 5 g/dL. Very High levels are those that are more than 10 g/dL.

Source: Rhode Island Childhood Lead Prevention Database.