Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance

Overexposure to inorganic lead continues to be an important health problem worldwide. Furthermore, recent research has caused increased concerns about the toxicity of lead at low doses. Lead can cause acute and chronic adverse effects in multiple organ systems, ranging from subclinical changes in function to symptomatic, life-threatening intoxication. Since 1992, CDC's state-based Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES) program has tracked laboratory-reported elevated blood lead levels (BLLs) in U.S. adults. The vast majority (95%) of reported elevated BLLs have been work related. One of the Healthy People 2010 national public health objectives is to reduce to zero the prevalence of BLLs ≥25 µg/dL among adults (objective 20-7). ABLES surveillance results through 2004 have been published previously. This report summarizes results for the period 2005--2007. An overall decline in national rates of elevated BLLs among state residents plus nonresidents from 14.0 in 1994 to 7.8 in 2007 has been observed.

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