The percentage of screened children aged 9 months to 4 years that had confirmed elevated blood lead levels, expressed as a rate per 1,000 children ages 0 to 4.
Exposure to lead, even small amounts, significantly increases a child's risk of developing long-lasting cognitive, physiological and behavioral problems.
In 2017, Essex County screened 73.3% of children aged 9 months to 4 years, and detected high lead levels in 71 children, for a rate of 3.1 per 1,000 children. This was lower than the statewide rate of 3.2, and a 33% decline since 2010. Within Essex County, the cities of Lynn and Lawrence had the highest rates in 2017 - at 6.9 and 4.5, respectively - although each was a reduction in rate since 2010.
Essex County had a higher rate than Middlesex, MA (2.4 per 1,000) but had more improvement since 2010. The rate in Middlesex fell 23% from 2010 to 2017.
Comparable data was not available for Lake, IL. Westchester County, NY data not available after 2015. A blood lead level is confirmed as elevated when there are 10 or more micrograms per deciliter of lead present in the blood specimen. Lead poisoning is confirmed at 25 and higher micrograms per deciliter, and is included in the figures.