US lowers cutoff for lead poisoning in young kids | National News

“This administration is more supportive,” he said.

David Rosner, a Columbia University public health historian, said the CDC is “vulnerable to the political winds.”

“The fact that they are doing it now is an indication they feel a little freed up,” said Rosner, who has co-authored books about lead poisoning and other forms of pollution.

Lead exposure can be a problem anywhere, but research shows it’s a larger problem in poor communities and is concentrated in cities in the Northeast and Midwest with older housing.

Hauptman said the standard change is complicated by the recent recall of a test kit.

Earlier this year, Magellan Diagnostics Inc. recalled some of its blood lead testing kits because some of them were giving falsely low blood lead levels. This month, the CDC notified doctors that the recall had been expanded to most of the kits distributed in the last year.

“When you are talking about a level of 3.5, that precision matters,” Hauptman said.

Health officials have stressed that other types of blood lead testing have remained available. But some also noted the standard change comes at a time they are dealing with other challenges.

For example, the Baltimore City Health Department’s lead screening programs were paused last year, as staff and resources were shifted to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The department plans to resume its lead testing program in January, a spokesman said in an email.

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