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Lead Contamination Found in Blood of Half of Young Kids in U.S.

  • More sensitive tech allowed detection of lower lead levels
  • ‘For lead there’s no too low. We want zero,’ doctor says
A billboard warns residents about lead in water in Flint, Michigan in 2016.

A billboard warns residents about lead in water in Flint, Michigan in 2016.

Photographer: Sarah Rice/Getty Images

About half of young children who were tested for lead had detectable levels of the toxic metal in their blood, according to a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Pediatrics on Monday. 

While most of the kids had relatively smaller amounts, about 2% had a level that is considered high. The research tracked more than 1.1 million children under the age of 6 years who underwent lead testing from October 2018 through February 2020.