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Tests Show High Blood Lead in D.C. Kids

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WASHINGTON, Mar 19, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Tests on hundreds of Washington children younger than 6 show over 40 percent higher blood lead levels than the national average, officials say.

Lead expert Joel Schwartz, an associate professor of environmental health at Harvard, said more systematic testing should be developed to find out why.

He said his analysis of testing results supplied by the D.C. Health Department indicates a significant problem, the Washington Post reported.

But, Daniel R. Lucey, the District's interim chief medical officer, said he did not think different measures were needed, adding, "There is not a massive lead toxicity citywide."

Officials have received test results on 621 children since the end of January with an average reading of at least 2.8 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. The national average for that age group in 2001, the latest year for which data is available, was 1.9 micrograms.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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