Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels
What does this measure?
The number of children under age 6 with blood lead levels 10 micrograms per deciliter or higher as a proportion of those tested within the year (either with a finger stick or venous blood screening). Only children who did not previously have an elevated blood lead level are included in this measure.
Why is this important?
Exposure to lead, even small amounts, significantly increases a child’s risk of developing long–lasting cognitive, physiological and behavioral problems.
How are Cayuga and Seneca counties performing?
Of the children tested in 2008, 0.6% in Cayuga and Seneca counties had elevated lead levels, similar to the 0.8% level in the state (excluding NYC). Rates were higher in Onondaga (1.2%), Wayne (1%) and Oswego (8%), and lower in Ontario (.3%). The number of children with elevated blood lead levels was very low in both Cayuga (8) and Seneca (3), making it difficult to assess trends. Rates in the state (excluding NYC) have been declining since 2000, from 2% to 0.8%.
It is important to note that not all children are tested for lead, despite a state law requiring them to be tested. Statewide, two–thirds of children are tested between 9 and 18 months of age.
Notes about the data
Rates in all of the reported counties except Onondaga are considered unstable by the Health Department because they are based upon small numbers, which makes it difficult to distinguish random fluctuation from true changes.