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Health Indicator Report of Lead Exposure - Children Under Age Three Years with Confirmed Elevated Blood Lead Levels

Environmental lead is a common toxic metal, present in all areas of the United States. Lead exposure and lead poisoning are preventable. Lead exposure can adversely affect nearly every organ and system in the body, including the nervous, blood, hormonal, kidney, and reproductive systems. Children are more vulnerable to lead poisoning than adults. Children from all social and economic levels can be affected. The bodies of young children absorb lead more readily than adults. During the first three years of life, children's brains are growing the fastest, developing the critical connections in the nervous system that control thought, learning, hearing, movement, behavior, and emotions. The normal behaviors of children at this age, such as crawling, exploring, teething, and putting objects in their mouth, put them at an increased risk for lead exposure. Even blood lead levels lower than 5 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL) may be associated with negative outcomes for children, such as cognitive impairment and learning disabilities, delayed development, changes in behavior, kidney problems and anemia. There is no known safe level of exposure to lead. The state requires all children enrolled in Medicaid be tested for lead exposure at ages 12 months and 24 months.


Elevated blood lead levels are confirmed by either one elevated venous test result or two elevated capillary or unknown specimen test results less than 12 weeks apart. Childhood Blood Lead Surveillance data are not randomly sampled or representative of the population. Number and percent of children tested with confirmed elevated blood lead levels cannot be interpreted as prevalence or incidence for the population.   Approximately 5% of children were missing county of residence information; therefore some county-level percentages could change if unknown county data is identified. The US measure includes data from the 34 states reporting high quality data to the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network, including Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming from 2007.

Data Sources

  • New Mexico Department of Health Blood Lead Database.
  • U.S. Data Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

Data Interpretation Issues

Complete residential addresses are not available for all children tested. Sometimes the address of the clinic is used as a surrogate when the child's address is not available. Vital Statistics birth data do not include children who have moved in or out of the area since birth. Therefore, as a denominator, these data may under or over estimate the number of children eligible for lead exposure testing in the area.


The percentage of children born in the same year and tested before age three years with confirmed elevated blood lead levels (10 micrograms per deciliter - mcg/dL) is the number of children born in the same year and tested for lead exposure prior to the age of three years with confirmed elevated blood lead levels divided by the number of children born in the same year and tested for lead before age three years.


Number of NM resident children born in the same year and tested for lead exposure prior to the age of three years with a blood lead level of 10 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL) or higher which was confirmed by a venous test or two capillary tests less than 12 weeks apart.


Number of NM resident children born in the same year who were tested for lead exposure prior to the age of three years.

Other Objectives

CDC Environmental Public Health Tracking, Nationally Consistent Data and Measures (EPHT NCDM)

Available Services

The New Mexico Department of Health provides case management for children with elevated blood lead levels (at or above 10 ug/dL).
Page Content Updated On 11/28/2018, Published on 01/03/2019
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Sat, 30 May 2020 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Thu, 3 Jan 2019 11:52:19 MST