LEAD : Revised international standards

Download here for convenient reading : What you should know about revised Blood Lead standards in Children, and a recap of other lead standards

         International  Recommendations on Lead Levels in Blood, Materials, Air and Water

Revised Blood Lead Level Standards :
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has recently updated its recommendations on children’s blood lead levels.

The focus has shifted to primary prevention of lead exposure, so that dangerous lead sources in children’s environments can be reduced or eliminated before they are exposed to them.
Until recently, children were identified as having a blood lead “level of concern” if the test result showed 10 or more micrograms per deciliter (ug/dl) of lead in blood. CDC is no longer using the term “level of concern” and is instead using a reference value to identify children who have been exposed to lead and who require case management. Experts now use a reference level of 5 ug/dl to identify children with blood lead levels that are a cause for concern.
In the past, blood lead level tests below 10ug/dl of lead in blood may not even have been reported as concerning. The new lower value means that more children will likely be identified as having lead exposure allowing parents, doctors, public health officials, and communities to take action earlier to reduce the child’s future exposure to lead.

What has not changed is the recommendation for when medical treatment is advised for children – the guideline says that chelation therapy be considered when a child has a blood lead test result of 45ug/dl

Though lead is at large in our environment, lead exposure is entirely preventable. The key is stopping children from coming into contact with lead, taking simple steps to make homes lead-safe, and treating children who have been poisoned by lead.

Standards for Lead in Material :

  • The limit for lead in a paint coating (and similar surface coatings) has been lowered from 600PPM to 90PPM (0.009%)
  • Accessible components (non-internal) on children’s products are required to contain no more than 100PPM of lead.
  • The lead content limit for bare soil in children’s play areas is 400PPM and for bare soil in general areas is 1200PPM.
  • For food products intended for infants and children, the FDA has set an action level of 0.5 µg/mL for lead is recommended. The use of lead-soldered food cans is banned.

Standards for Lead in Air :

  • NIOSH at CDC has set a Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) of 50 µg/m3 from lead in the workplace air to be maintained so that worker blood lead remains < 60 µg/dL of whole blood.
  • The EPA’s recommended limit for lead in ambient air is 0.15 µg/m3 averaged over a calendar quarter.

Standards for Lead in Water :

  • The EPA has set drinking water standards with two levels of protection : the maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG) is 0 (zero). This is the level determined to be safe by toxicological and biomedical considerations, independent of feasibility. This, therefore, is the goal for lead in water. The other rule establishes an ‘action level’ at 15 µg/L.

Older structures, however, still have lead pipe or lead-soldered plumbing internally, which may substantially increase the lead content of water in the tap. In China, there is also a risk of contamination in the badly-maintained pipelines  the water travels before it reaches homes.

Hiring professionals to test the water for lead is, therefore, the most advisable strategy.

Additional reading :

Contact us for more information, a free consultation or to book a Full-Home Lead Investigation Package

Kellie Henry
Client Services Manager