Objectives. To estimate the prevalence of elevated blood lead levels in children receiving well-care checkups; and to evaluate the effectiveness of certain key risk factors in detecting children at higher risk for elevated blood lead levels.
Design. Cross-sectional study.
Setting. Two facilities of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program (KPMCP) health maintenance organization (HMO), northern California region.
Patients. Six hundred thirty-six children, aged 12 to 60 months, who were seen at four KPMCP facilities in two subregions for a well-care checkup from September 1991 through August 1992.
Interventions. Blood samples were collected from each child and analyzed for lead content. Participating parents completed a questionnaire that included questions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the child's and the parents' lead exposure via home, workplace, and hobbies.
Results. Ninety-six percent of the children had blood lead levels under 10 µ/dL. Blood lead levels declined with increasing age and were higher for black children compared with whites. Age of residential housing, mother's education, and residence in an old house with peeling paint had low sensitivity and positive predictive value for identifying children with blood lead levels over 10 µ/dL.
Conclusion. Universal routine screening for elevated blood lead levels in children in an employed, HMO-insured population is not warranted on grounds of prevalence. Responses to CDC questions do not effectively identify high-risk children in this population.
- Received September 12, 1994.
- Accepted February 6, 1995.
- Copyright © 1996 by the American Academy of Pediatrics