By Rebecca Thiele

A large coalition — made up of doctors, legal experts, advocacy groups, and others — is petitioning the state to lower its threshold for when public health agencies should address elevated blood lead levels in children.

Right now Indiana’s required threshold for many services is 10 micrograms per deciliter, twice as high as what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.

“This petition will go a long way in making sure that we catch the majority of the disease burden, which is actually the lead levels between five and 10,” says Dr. Tony GiaQuinta, president of the Indiana chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In 2016, more than 1,600 children tested for lead had levels at or above the CDC’s recommended threshold but below the state’s.

Kids with lead poisoning can have trouble learning, behavioral issues, and poor kidney function. Mark Templeton is the director of the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School. The clinic works with East Chicago residents affected by lead.

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