Connecticut Childhood Lead Poisoning Surveillance Report


Blood lead levels as low as 5 μg/dL have been shown to affect IQ, concentration, and academic achievement. Children who are diagnosed with a blood lead level of ≥5 μg/dL are considered to be lead poisoned. In 2013, the CT DPH lowered the case management action level from 10 μg/dL to 5 μg/dL to correspond with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reference value. In May 2012, the CDC recommended a new “reference value” of 5 μg/dL, for lead poisoning among young children. The State of Connecticut adopted the new reference value in May 2013. As such, Connecticut local health departments (LHDs) are required to initiate public health case management actions for children with a confirmed blood level of ≥5 μg/dL. In October 2021, the CDC further reduced the recommended “reference value”to 3.5 μg/dL.  This report defines 5 μg/dL and greater as an elevated blood lead level for CY 2020. 
The current reference value is based on children aged 1 to 5 years old who were in the highest 2.5% of children tested for lead in their blood by CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
Connecticut's Story
As of January 1, 2009, Connecticut law mandates that medical providers must conduct annual lead screening (i.e., blood lead testing) for each child 9 to 35 months of age. Furthermore, the law requires that any child between 36-72 months of age who has not been previously tested must also be tested by the child’s medical provider, regardless of risk (CT General Statue 19a-111g). The general recommendation is for the 1st and 2nd screens to occur at the 1 and 2 year 'well baby' visits. 
The following provides a summary of key findings from the CT DPH Lead Poisoning Program for children under 6 years of age who had a confirmed blood lead test in 2020.  A confirmed test result is defined as one of the following either a venous blood draw or a capillary blood draw with a result of less than 5 mcg/dL.