Data on Michigan children’s blood lead levels are available on Michigan Environmental Public tracking, also known as MItracking. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, following the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions, has changed the definition for high lead in blood, also known as the blood lead reference value (BLRV). The change lowered the qualification of high levels of lead in the blood from 5 to 3.5 micrograms per deciliter, although there is no safe level of lead in blood. 

The BLRV data are used to identify children with higher levels of lead in their blood compared to 97.5% of children in the United States. The BLRV is not health-based, but is used as a tool to identify children who need public health services and further medical attention. It is also used to prioritize communities that need to reduce lead. 

Lead exposure can come from many sources, including paint in homes built before 1978, dust, soil, drinking water from older plumbing, jobs or hobbies that involve lead, and some imported goods. It’s important for parents and caretakers of children less than 6 years old to talk to their child’s health care provider about blood lead testing. Lead exposure early in life has been shown to cause problems with learning, behavior, hearing and growth.