Blood-lead levels in NYC children dropping

The city Health Department said Thursday that there had been a 13 percent decrease from 2016 to 2017 in the number of kids under age 6 with blood lead levels at or below what the Centers for Disease Control considers safe.

There were 4,928 cases in 2016 and 4,293 in 2017, officials reported.

Since 2005, the city has seen an 89 percent reduction in the number of children under age 6 with blood lead levels at or above the CDC guidelines. “The city has been at the vanguard of addressing child lead poisoning concerns, which began when the Board of Health banned lead in paint in 1960 — 18 years before the federal ban,” said Dr. Mary Bassett, the health commissioner.

Exposure to high lead levels can cause anemia, weakness, kidney and brain damage and even death.

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