Bottom Line: This recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) updates its 2006 statement regarding screening for elevated blood lead levels in children and pregnant women. The USPSTF now finds inadequate evidence to recommend for or against screening for elevated blood lead levels in asymptomatic children 5 years or younger and in asymptomatic pregnant women.
Background: The USPSTF routinely makes recommendations about the effectiveness of preventive care services. Elevated blood lead levels in children are associated with neurologic effects such as behavioral and learning problems, lower IQ, hyperactivity, hearing problems and impaired growth. In pregnant women, lead exposure can impair organ systems and increase the risk of preeclampsia and adverse outcomes for the infant.
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