Update of the Blood Lead Reference Value — United States, 2021
Advanced Search
Select up to three search categories and corresponding keywords using the fields to the right. Refer to the Help section for more detailed instructions.

Search our Collections & Repository

All these words:

For very narrow results

This exact word or phrase:

When looking for a specific result

Any of these words:

Best used for discovery & interchangable words

None of these words:

Recommended to be used in conjunction with other fields



Publication Date Range:


Document Data


Document Type:






Clear All

Query Builder

Query box

Clear All

For additional assistance using the Custom Query please check out our Help Page


Update of the Blood Lead Reference Value — United States, 2021

Filetype[PDF-102.77 KB]

  • English

  • Details:

    • Alternative Title:
      MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
    • Description:
      The negative impact of lead exposure on young children and those who become pregnant is well documented but is not well known by those at highest risk from this hazard. Scientific evidence suggests that there is no known safe blood lead level (BLL), because even small amounts of lead can be harmful to a child's developing brain (1). In 2012, CDC introduced the population-based blood lead reference value (BLRV) to identify children exposed to more lead than most other children in the United States. The BLRV should be used as a guide to 1) help determine whether medical or environmental follow-up actions should be initiated for an individual child and 2) prioritize communities with the most need for primary prevention of exposure and evaluate the effectiveness of prevention efforts. The BLRV is based on the 97.5th percentile of the blood lead distribution in U.S. children aged 1-5 years from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data. NHANES is a complex, multistage survey designed to provide a nationally representative assessment of health and nutritional status of the noninstitutionalized civilian adult and child populations in the United States (2). The initial BLRV of 5 μg/dL, established in 2012, was based on data from the 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 NHANES cycles. Consistent with recommendations from a former advisory committee, this report updates CDC's BLRV in children to 3.5 μg/dL using NHANES data derived from the 2015-2016 and 2017-2018 cycles and provides helpful information to support adoption by state and local health departments, health care providers (HCPs), clinical laboratories, and others and serves as an opportunity to advance health equity and environmental justice related to preventable lead exposure. CDC recommends that public health and clinical professionals focus screening efforts on populations at high risk based on age of housing and sociodemographic risk factors. Public health and clinical professionals should collaborate to develop screening plans responsive to local conditions using local data. In the absence of such plans, universal BLL testing is recommended. In addition, jurisdictions should follow the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requirement that all Medicaid-enrolled children be tested at ages 12 and 24 months or at age 24-72 months if they have not previously been screened (3).
    • Pubmed ID:
    • Pubmed Central ID:
    • Document Type:
    • Place as Subject:
    • Main Document Checksum:
    • File Type:

    Supporting Files

    More +

    You May Also Like

    Checkout today's featured content at stacks.cdc.gov