Update to Blood Lead Reference Value and Medicaid Policy

May 1, 2022 - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has lowered the blood lead reference value (BLRV) from 5 µg/dL to 3.5 µg/dL (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report - Update of Blood Lead Reference Value). As of May 1, 2022, State of Michigan Medicaid policy will align with this update (MDHHS Health and Aging Services Administration Bulletin 22-11). The blood lead reference value is based on the 97.5th percentile of the blood lead distribution in U.S. children ages 1-5 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

No level of lead in the blood is safe, and MDHHS welcomes the update of the BLRV for clinical management and public health response for children with lead exposure. As outlined in guidance from the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units, healthcare professionals should provide follow-up testing and other recommended actions for children with BLL ≥ 3.5 µg/dL.

Blood Lead Reference Value Resources:

Visit Michigan’s Environmental Health for Health Care Providers website or call 1-800-648-6942 to learn about other practice-relevant environmental health issues.