Childhood Lead Screening

Description of Indicator
This indicator shows the percentage of the population from 0 to 71 months tested for lead. This is mandated for children covered by Medicaid. Additionally, the information indicates the number of children in the same age group with elevated blood lead levels (BLL) and the percentage of those children tested with elevated BLL. Blood lead levels are shown for children with higher than five micrograms of lead for every deciliter of blood.

Why is it important?
Reporting blood level surveillance is important among children because performing blood tests is the best choice for discovering lead exposure. Lead entering the body from different environments affects the child’s growth and development. It is difficult to visually notice symptoms of lead exposure, and being left untreated can lead to attention, learning, behavior, hearing, or speech issues.

How is the region performing?
From 2019 to 2021, the percentage of children 0 to 71 months tested for lead was higher in Wayne County. Lackawanna County continued to have the fewest proportion of the population from 0 to 71 months tested for lead in the past four years analyzed. Conversely, Wayne County had the smallest proportion of children 0 to 71 months tested with elevated BLL. Both Lackawanna County and Luzerne Counties continued to exceed statewide percentages of children tested with elevated BLL from 2018 through 2021. A significant challenge is that only a small percentage of children are tested, this is especially in an area with older homes and water infrastructure.