Raised blood lead levels in children
Dr. R Ruggles
- Public health interventions have succeeded in removing most sources of lead from the environment.
- A small proportion of children continue to be exposed to harmful levels of lead, usually in the home.
- Exposure to lead in children is associated with a range of adverse health effects, from sub-clinical neurodevelopmental impairment to encephalitis.
- There are no reliable data on the incidence or prevalence of clinically significant lead toxicity or the prevalence of elevated blood lead concentrations in children in the UK.
- Currently, the UK has no formal monitoring of childhood blood lead concentrations within laboratory or clinical systems and the public health response to such cases is likely to be sub-optimal.
- A recent case series indicates that significant obstacles are often encountered in the effective and timely management of cases.
- The aim of this study is to provide an estimate of the incidence of elevated blood lead concentrations in children.
- The study will provide important information on the management of cases, both clinically and in terms of the public health response.
Case defintion: Any child, less than 16 years of agge, with a blood lad concentration reported by the laboratory of as more than or equal to 10µg/dL (or 0.48µmol/L), with ot without any of the accepted clinical signs and sumptoms of lead toxicity.
Reporting instructions: Please report any new cases you have seen in the last month which meet the surveillance definiton.
Duration: June 2010 – June 2012 inclusive (with follow-up until July 2013)
Funding: Health Protection Agency
Ethical approval: This study has been approved by the Riverside REC (Ref: 10/H0706/10) and has Section 251 NIGB permission under HPA reference (PIAG 03-(c)/2001).
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