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PEHSU Factsheet on Lead and Drinking Water: Information for Health Professionals Across the United States (2016) > At-Risk Populations

At-Risk Populations

posted on Aug 1, 2019
  • Children less than six years old, including the developing fetus, are especially vulnerable to health problems from lead exposure.
    • As defined by the CDC, children who are members of racial-ethnic minority groups, live in poverty, in substandard housing, are recent immigrants, and have parents exposed to occupational sources of lead are disproportionately at higher risk of lead exposure.
  • Formula-fed infants who are exposed to lead through contaminated tap water are at higher risk because they consume large volumes of formula relative to their body size. Lead levels in breast milk tend to be low; breast milk is highly nutritious and the best choice for most babies.
  • Water may be an important source of lead exposure in some communities with lead service lines and unsatisfactory corrosion control. A study conducted by Hanna-Attisha et al. indicates that as much as 50% of lead intake was from water during a 14-month exposure window in Flint, Michigan.