NEW YORK (AP) — Health officials say more than a half-million young children in the United States now are believed to have lead poisoning.
The figure is roughly twice the previous high estimate, but that’s due to the government’s lowering the threshold for lead poisoning last year, so now more children are considered at risk.
Too much lead can be harmful to developing brains and can mean a lower IQ. The new number released Thursday translates to about 1 in 38 young children.
After lowering the standard, the government went back and looked at blood tests from children under 6 to determine how many have lead poisoning under the new definition.
Lead poisoning has been a waning concern, as leaded gasoline, paint and other sources have diminished.