Wednesday 30 November 2022
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New Study Finds Syracuse Children Have Country’s Highest Rate of Lead Poisoning

speech clientA new study from Quest Diagnostics should be a wake-up to families and lawmakers, especially in light of the recent Flint, MI controversy. According to, the study, which was published in the Journal of Pediatrics, found that Syracuse was home to the highest rate of lead poisoning in children from 2009 to 2015.

Perhaps the most disconcerting finding was that among Syracuse children living in ZIP codes beginning with the numbers 132, a whopping 40% of children were found to have blood lead levels between five and 10 micrograms per deciliter. Approximately 16% had levels that exceeded 10 micrograms per deciliter.

As far as what constitutes “safe” levels of lead in human blood, experts say the answer is zero. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, five micrograms is the cutoff for blood lead level safety, although previous research has found that levels as low as two micrograms can have serious health risks in children.

Lower IQs, long-term brain damage, and a variety of other concerns and problems may result from exposure to lead. It is estimated that childhood lead poisoning accounts for about 600,000 new cases of developing intellectual disabilities in children every year.

The study also found that nationwide only about 3% of children had blood lead levels at or above five micrograms.

“These alarming findings show that while our nation has made progress in addressing lead exposure, our public health successes are neither complete nor demographically consistent,” said Harvey W. Kaufman, one of the study’s authors, in a prepared statement.

Kaufman went on to say that the country still has a long way to go to rectify and reduce the disparities that put some children more at risk.

It’s also important to note that the numbers the study found differ significantly from recent reports from the Onondaga County Health Department. The Health Department found that only 11%, or 631 of 5,555, of Syracuse children had blood lead levels of five micrograms or higher in 2015.

Syracuse is proportionally one of the nation’s poorest cities when it comes to poverty rates. ZIP codes in Syracuse’s poorest neighborhoods were found to have the highest rates of blood lead levels.

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