Indiana widens child lead threshold, raises family support


The Indiana Department of Health on Friday adopted an emergency rule expanding what it considers “elevated” lead levels in a child’s blood, and introduced family education and case management for children with the neurotoxin in their blood.

“Reducing the blood lead threshold in Indiana has been a years-long process that has required partnerships with healthcare providers, local health departments and lawmakers to identify the resources and funding needed to ensure that more Indiana children not only were tested for lead, but that those with elevated levels could receive appropriate services,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box in a news release.

The department called it the “initial step toward a permanent change” in the release.

Box’ department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hold that there’s no safe level of lead for children. But since 2012, when the CDC lowered its definition of “elevated” levels to 5 micrograms per deciliter, Indiana’s definition remained double that used in federal guidance.

And in October 2021, the CDC lowered its threshold again to 3.5 micrograms per deciliter. Indiana’s lining up with that number, effective July 1.

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Indiana Capital Chronicle, 5-07-22