JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Blood lead levels--United States, 1988-1991.

Since the late 1970s, ongoing contamination of the U.S. environment by lead has been substantially reduced as major uses of lead in house paint, gasoline, water-distribution systems, and food cans have been eliminated or reduced (1). During the 1980s, blood lead data from both selected populations and convenience samples indicated a continuation of the decline in blood lead levels (BLLs) (2) observed during 1976-1980 during the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES II) (3). However, research during the past two decades has demonstrated adverse health effects at BLLs previously considered to be safe (1). This report summarizes estimates of BLLs in the U.S. population from Phase 1 of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), compares these estimates to those from NHANES II, and examines demographic patterns of BLLs among children aged 1-5 years (4,5).

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