(June 1, 2013)
Thank you for your interest in preventing lead poisoning in Alabama’s children. Screening high-risk children for blood lead poisoning is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Alabama Medicaid Agency. All health care providers are advised to perform a blood lead test on all high-risk children at 12 and 24 months of age, (Managing Elevated Blood Lead Levels Among Young Children, March 2002).
The CDC recently revised its guidelines for childhood blood lead level screening, emphasizing the value of primary prevention. It now recommends diagnostic (venous) testing for all children who have a blood lead reference value > 5µg/dL. Research has shown that even low levels of lead in blood are associated with cognitive deficits, attention-related behaviors, and poor academic achievement. Results from 5 – 9 µg/dL are considered to be levels at which clinicians should educate families concerning lead absorption and sources of lead exposure. Educational pamphlets are available online.
A blood lead result of > 10 µg/dL remains the current level for action and reporting to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). Blood lead levels > 10µg /dL are Class B Reportable Diseases reportable to ADPH within seven days via mailing or faxing a completed Elevated Blood Lead Environmental Surveillance Form. A blood lead level of >10µg/dL triggers a care coordination referral and a venous blood lead level of >15µg/dL generates a referral for an environmental home investigation to identify lead hazards.
This provider packet also contains the Blood Lead Screening and Management Guidelines which outline minimum follow-up testing requirements for children identified with elevated blood lead levels. All brochures and pamphlets are public domain and may be copied for patient education. Additional information and brochures are available upon request. For immediate access, program materials may be downloaded from the Alabama Childhood Lead Poisoning Program.
For program information, please contact the Program Coordinator, Jackie Harris, RN, at 334-206-2966. For questions on treatment or chelation, please contact Dr Erica Liebelt, Pediatric Lead Poisoning Consultant, at 1-800-292-6678.
Dianne M. Sims, Director
Children’s Health Division
Bureau of Family Health Services