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Support for the 1-in-3 Number

one in threeAs a parent, if you understand that the statistical likelihood  for your child to have significant levels of lead in their blood is greater than 1 in 3, you are more likely to be inspired to test them and also to adopt simple measures for primary prevention in your home.

 


Below is a link to the primary study we have used to formulate our “1-in-3” language. Click the image below for the direct link to the study.

To better understand this, we have two public statements that are not exclusive and are both supported by the study below:

  • “1 in 3 American kids under the age of 18 has had a blood lead level of 2.5 or higher in their lifetime”  and
  • “More than one in three American kids has lead in their blood.” (the introduction to our latest PSA)

Click HERE for a full detailed explanation of the first statement.

Regarding the second statement—the statement included in our most recent PSA, we share with you the following information so you can better understand it (if you have questions.)


“More than one in three American kids has lead in their blood”  – explanation:

Please note, the shorthand for Blood Lead Level is “BLL”. BLLs are measured in “micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood.”

Using the study linked below [and thus, using the CDC’s artificially restrictive definition of  the word “child“* as referenced in these studies—”a person ages 1 to 5” (i.e. not including children under one, and not including children over 5)]—the number of  – we’ll call them “CDC children” – shown to have any amount of lead in their blood by this report is significantly greater than 33% (so very conservatively, “more than one in three”!).

[*Note: Lead Safe America does not agree with the CDC’s artificially restrictive definition of “child” and we use a more traditional definition when speaking of children – “[all] persons under the age of 18″.]


In fact, the number of children with measurable amounts of lead in their blood as reported in this study – is at least 86%, as only 14% were reported to have a BLL of “less than one.”

The only valid argument for possibly using the 86% figure to represent the number of children who have lead in their blood (vs. a potentially more realistic number of 100%) is if you choose to consider the “less than one” result an effective “negative.” At Lead Safe America we do not consider “less than one” negative, given that the natural background level of lead in pre-industrial humans is 0.016—and a BLL of 1.0 is in fact more than 50 times the natural background level of lead – one of the most potent neurotoxins known to man.  Our position that “less than one” is not safe or acceptable (nor a true negative) is also supported by other recent studies including those that show measurable, significant impacts on pregnant women and fertility at levels below 0.5.

However – in spite of these numbers, the American public isn’t ready to hear that 100% of kids have lead in their blood, especially because they aren’t yet educated regarding the implications of this finding.

While Lead Safe America uses the language “there is no safe level of lead” whenever possible, we also choose to use the “more than 1-in-3” statement in our work to more accurately represent the true scope of the problem (more accurately than the “535,000 children” noted in the CDC’s public statements – which is a misleading public statement on several different levels. See full explanation here.)

We have chosen this for our public statement (instead of 86% or 100%) because this conservative metric is considered “less ‘alarmist'” – i.e. more accepted by mainstream (not lead-focused) science and health professionals – as the impacts of a BLL of 2.0 or higher are more widely studied and acknowledged (presently) than the impacts of a BLL below 2.0.

It is therefore – as a result of the limited focus of studies done to date – combined with the more widely accepted understanding that blood lead levels of 2.0 or higher (vs. < 2.0) have been shown to cause long-term negative health impairments – that the “more than 1-in-3” statement is accurately reflective of the number of children noted to have lead in their blood (at a level that is agreed upon to be a concern today, but will likely change in the future.) [This number would be significantly higher if the range in the study below started at 2.0 and not 2.5.]


As a parent, if you understand that the statistical likelihood  for your child to have significant levels of lead in their blood is greater than 1 in 3, you are more likely to be inspired to test them and also to adopt simple measures for primary prevention in your home.


 

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