Decrease in routine bloodwork delays identification of elevated blood lead levels and mitigation strategies
Decades of progress in reducing the number of children with high levels of lead in their blood are in danger due to stay-at-home orders and delayed routine medical care brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. While lead exposure can be harmful at any age, children under six are especially vulnerable. The pandemic not only disrupted standard childhood screenings and delayed appropriate treatment, but also altered removal efforts, leaving thousands of children at-risk for irreversible neurological damage caused by lead poisoning. The impact of these delays is expected to disproportionately affect children at increased risk for lead exposure, including those from racial or ethnic minority groups, from families who have been economically or socially marginalized, and those living in older housing.
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