In Arizona more than 800 children each year are identified with elevated blood lead levels (EBLL). Even at low blood lead levels, children’s intelligence, behavior, hearing and growth can be irreparably damaged. Most children will not have any symptoms. The only way to detect lead poisoning is through a blood test. All children living in high-risk zip codes should receive a blood lead test at 12 and 24 months of age.

How is Arizona Doing? The screening rate is 24% in high-risk zip codes; this means that most children living in high-risk codes are not receiving a blood lead test. The average time it takes physicians to report elevated results is 14 days. Elevated blood lead results must be reported to ADHS within 5 days. Only 23% of cases receive follow up testing within the recommended time frame.

Seventy percent of known lead sources in 2014 were not lead-based paint. Other sources included imported spices and candyimported glazed pottery used for cooking or drinking, toys, home remedies, and hobbies such as lead bullet making.

Our Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs will be working with healthcare providers and stakeholders to ensure that children living in high-risk zip codes receive a blood lead test at 12 and 24 months of age, EBLL results will be reported timely to ADHS, and children will receive follow up testing and appropriate interventions to identify and eliminate the source of lead.

Check out our childhood lead screening guide for healthcare professionals to learn more about screening, health hazards of lead exposure, common sources of lead in Arizona, and how to report EBLL to the Arizona Department of Health Services.