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Birth Cohort Children Under 3

The birth cohort children under 3 data provides information about blood lead testing and Blood Lead Levels (BLLs) among children born in the same year, known as a birth cohort. This indicator evaluates all BLL test result prior to a child’s third birthday. These data can be used to identify changes in blood lead levels over time and to monitor progress toward reducing and preventing exposure to lead in children. This indicator also includes age of housing and child poverty rates from the American Communities Survey that can help assess testing within areas of high risk.

Elevated BLLs in young children have been associated with adverse health effects ranging from learning impairment and behavioral problems to death. Because children may have elevated BLLs and not have any specific symptoms, it is recommended that all young children be tested prior to the age of three. Evaluating BLLs in children under the age of three is important because the first three years of life is the time when the brain grows the fastest and when the critical connections in the brain and nervous system are formed.

These measures are presented together with data about the number of homes built before 1950 and the poverty level in a specific area. Pre-1950s homes and living in poverty have been identified as risk factors for elevated blood lead levels in children. Having all of this information together helps assess testing within areas of high risk.

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