12/15/2: Blood Lead Reference Values

On October 28, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its blood lead reference value (BLRV) from 5µg/dL to 3.5µg/dL in response to the Lead Exposure Prevention and Advisory Committee (LEPAC) recommendation made on May 14, 2021. The BLRV is intended to identify children with higher levels of lead in their blood compared to most children, based on the 97.5th percentile of the blood lead level (BLL) distribution in U.S. children ages 1 to 5 years old. Since there is no safe level of lead, this action by CDC is a reminder of how important it is for early blood lead testing, so parents can take steps to keep their children safe from the toxic and irreversible effects of lead exposure.

Whatcom County Health and Community Services is following the recommendations of the CDC for public health case management services for families who have children with lead levels at 3.5µg/dL or higher. Washington State Department of Health (WA DOH) continues with the BLRV of 5µg/dL until the process of revising the Notifiable Conditions Rule in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) is complete. Following this new reference value allows us to:

  • Identify more children with elevated lead levels, in accordance with current CDC guidance
  • Identify and eliminate sources of lead exposure
  • Take more prompt actions to reduce the harmful effects of lead

For more information from the CDC, visit: CDC updates blood lead reference value | Lead | CDC

Contacting The Health Department.

  • 360-778-6100 Main Call Line – available M-F 8:30am to 4:30pm.
    • Afterhours Answering Service – available after 4:30pm and weekends, call 360-778-6100 and press 2 to be connected to the on-call manager or health officer.
  • 360-778-6150 Communicable Disease Report Line – 24 hours a day 7 days a week
  • 360-778-6103 Confidential Communicable Disease Fax – 24 hours a day 7 days a week
  • 509 Girard Street, Bellingham WA 98225