1.2 million children in the US have lead poisoning. We’re only treating half of them.

We’ve long known that despite all our efforts to clean up lead, we have a serious problem with lead poisoning in American children — it’s an egregious and preventable public health issue that just won’t go away.

And it seems the problem is even worse than we thought. Researchers at the Public Health Institute reported Thursday in the journal Pediatrics that the overall number of children with elevated blood lead levels as of 1999-2000 in the US was 1.2 million, or double what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported. (The number is likely even higher now, since testing rates have only declined since 2000.) These kids who are never tested or reported to the CDC also aren’t receiving treatment.

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