Childhood Lead Screening Metadata: Calendar Year

Origin:

Blood lead testing data are from the Maine CDC’s Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory and received directly from healthcare providers in Maine.  Population estimates are from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Maine CDC’s, Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics.

Dates Available:

2004 – 2019

Geographic Resolution:

State, County, High Risk Area, and Town

Abstract:

In collaboration with the Maine CDC’s Maine Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Unit (CLPPU), the Maine EPHT Program receives blood lead test data for all Maine children < 6 years of age from the Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory (HETL) and directly from healthcare providers, upon approval from the MCLPPU.  Approved healthcare provider submission of blood lead test data began in December 2012. The Maine EPHT Program receives calendar year intercensal population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau and town level population estimates from the Maine CDC’s, Office of Data Research and Vital Statistics used to calculate the percent of children screened.  This dataset contains counts of blood lead test results for Maine residents less than 36 months of age by calendar year. The data are stratified by year of test and age group.

The dataset contains the following measures:

  1. Percent of children screened for blood lead
  2. Number of children screened for blood lead

Purpose:

This data set supports efforts to improve public health in Maine and contributes to the U.S. CDC’s National Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) Network. A key activity of participants in this network is to track and make available environmental health measures on state and national data portals. Measures derived from the data set described here can be used to compare childhood lead screening rates across the state, between groups of people, over time, and in relation to risk factors, exposures, and health outcomes.

The Maine Tracking Network, a member of the National EPHT Network, connects communities, public health professionals, policy makers, state agencies, and others to the data they need to monitor public health, respond to health concerns, prioritize resources for public health action, and evaluate prevention activities. Maine tracks certain health effects, exposures, and environmental hazards that have known relationships, as well as some health effects and environmental hazards that have suspected relationships. By making health and environmental data available through the Maine Tracking Network, more people have access to data they need to think critically and hypothesize about health outcomes and their relationships to conditions in the environment.

Supplemental Information:

Blood lead levels, even low levels, in children have been associated with adverse health effects ranging from learning impairment and behavioral problems to death.  Children are more vulnerable to lead poisoning than adults.  Since children may have higher blood lead levels (BLLs) and not display any specific symptoms, the CDC recommends blood lead testing for young children at risk for lead poisoning.
Lead screening data are used to identify and monitor temporal and spatial changes in screening Maine children and to develop and support public health policy and legislation related to BLL testing and prevention of childhood lead poisoning.  These data are also used to monitor progress toward eliminating BLLs ≥ 5 ug/dL.

Data have been de-identified to protect confidentiality. Children may have more than one blood lead test drawn in a single calendar year; only one test result per child is included in these data. Blood lead test data have been de-duplicated to an individual child test date.

Test results selected for each child are based on the classification schema outlined in the National EPHT Network 'How to Guide' for Lead Poisoning.  A street level geocode based on their residence at the time of the test is assigned for spatial analysis.  In Maine, the data are further refined to identify tests on children who have never had a confirmed blood lead test ≥ 5 ug/dL and are identified as a ‘Screening’ test.

Entity and Attribute Overview:

This dataset includes the following fields: year screened, geographic resolution, age group, population, number and percent of children screened, and 95% CI’s.

Data Limitations:

  • Maine law requires that all children must be tested at 1 and 2 years of age unless their healthcare provider deems that they are not at risk. Since we do not know how many children are truly at risk in the population, we do not know if the data reflect the true burden of lead exposed children in Maine. Instead, the data reflect the burden of blood lead in Maine children among those tested.
  • The percentage of children 0-<36 months screened for lead poisoning is calculated using a population denominator that includes children age 0-9 months even though children are not usually tested for lead poisoning before 9 months of age.  As a result, screening percentages for children 0-<36 months may appear low when compared to other age groups. These data may still be useful to track screening trends over time or to compare percentages among similar locations, such as towns with similar populations of young children and housing characteristics.
  • On occasion, children living close to the state border may have their blood sample analyzed out of state (estimated to be <2.0% of all tests). Therefore, the data presented here may not include all Maine resident children tested.

Access Constraints:

Publicly available data are suppressed in accordance with the Maine CDC Privacy Policy to protect confidentiality.

More Information:

Suggested Citation for Data Displays:

Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Maine Tracking Network. Lead Poisoning: Screening. Available online: https://data.mainepublichealth.gov/tracking/.  Accessed on [date accessed].