New Mexico Statistics
Approximately half a million U.S. children aged 1-5 years have blood lead levels greater than 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (µg/dL), the CDC reference level based on the 97.5th percentile of blood lead level distribution in US children aged 1-5 years. A child is considered to have an elevated blood lead level (EBLL) at a concentration of 10 µg/dL or greater.
Despite increases in New Mexico’s annual screening rates, only about 10% of children aged 1-5 years were tested for lead exposure in 2010. The rates of elevated blood lead levels among children aged 1-5 years have remained at relatively stable levels during the past few years. For example, from 2006 to 2010, the annual rates of elevated blood lead levels among children fluctuated between 1 and 2 children for every 1,000 children tested for lead exposure. From 2006 to 2010, 68 children under the age of 6 were found to have confirmed elevated blood lead levels among the 56,515 tested.
Fortunately, rates of elevated blood lead levels in New Mexican children are lower relative to U.S. rates. However, since exposure to lead is known to have numerous adverse health effects and is a preventable exposure, these rates are still a concern. Despite the federal requirement that Medicaid-eligible children are to be tested for lead exposure, this testing does not always occur. Therefore, the rates of elevated blood lead levels may be unrealistically low.
From 2006 to 2010, 10,119 New Mexican residents aged 16 and older reported blood lead levels to the NM health department. Of these, 31 adults had elevated blood lead levels (>25 µg/dL, 8 of which reported blood lead levels at 40 µg/dL or greater). Of the adults with elevated blood lead levels, 19 were due to occupational exposures.
- NM Environmental Public Health Tracking System: Childhood Lead Poisoning
- National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network: Childhood Lead Poisoning
- New Mexico Administrative Code - Health