Mercer County Public Health Profile Report
Childhood Lead Testing Coverage: Percent Tested, 2014
Mercer74.0% 95% Confidence IntervalNADescription of the Confidence IntervalThe confidence interval indicates the range of probable true values for the level of risk in the community.
A value of "NA" (Not Available) will appear if the confidence interval was not published with the NJSHAD indicator data for this measure.
State74.4% U.S. NANA=Data not available.
Mercer Compared to State
Description of Gauge
Description of the GaugeThis graphic is based on the county data to the left. It compares the county value of this indicator to the state overall value.
The county value is considered statistically significantly different from the state value if the state value is outside the range of the county's 95% confidence interval. If the county's data or 95% confidence interval information is not available, a blank gauge image will be displayed with the message, "missing information."NOTE: The labels used on the gauge graphic are meant to describe the county's status in plain language. The placement of the gauge needle is based solely on the statistical difference between the county and state values. When selecting priority health issues to work on, a county should take into account additional factors such as how much improvement could be made, the U.S. value, the statistical stability of the county number, the severity of the health condition, and whether the difference is clinically significant.
- Excellent = The county's value on this indicator is BETTER than the state value, and the difference IS statistically significant.
- Watch = The county's value is BETTER than state value, but the difference IS NOT statistically significant.
- Improvement Needed = The county's value on this indicator is WORSE than the state value, but the difference IS NOT statistically significant.
- Reason for Concern = The county's value on this indicator is WORSE than the state value, and the difference IS statistically significant.
Why Is This Important?Lead is a heavy metal that has been widely used in industrial processes and consumer products. When absorbed into the human body, lead can have damaging effects on the brain and nervous system, kidneys, and blood cells. Lead exposure is particularly hazardous for pre-school children because their brains and nervous systems are still rapidly developing. Serious potential effects of lead exposure on the nervous system include: learning disabilities, hyperactivity, hearing loss and mental retardation. The primary method for lead to enter the body is through eating or breathing lead-containing substances. Major sources of lead exposure to children are: peeling or deteriorated leaded paint; lead-contaminated dust created by renovation or removal of lead-containing paint; and lead contamination brought home by adults who work in an occupation that involves lead, or who engage in a hobby where lead is used. Lead exposure can also occur through consuming drinking water or food which contains lead.
How Are We Doing?Exposure to lead is measured by a blood test. New Jersey regulations require health care providers to test for lead exposure among all one- and two-year old children. The percent of children in New Jersey who were tested for lead exposure before 3 years of age increased from 65% for children born in 2000 to almost 75% for children born in 2014. The percentage of children tested for lead exposure before 3 years of age among children born in 2014 was highest in Essex (89.9%), Hunterdon (84.4) and Union (83.6%) Counties. The lowest testing rates were in Sussex (59.9%) and Gloucester (55.3%) Counties.
What Is Being Done?The New Jersey Department of Health (NJ DOH) maintains a Child Health Program, [http://nj.gov/health/childhoodlead/]. This program coordinates a surveillance system that collects information from laboratories regarding the results of blood lead tests performed on children in New Jersey, identifies children with elevated test results, and notifies local health departments regarding children with elevated blood lead tests who reside in their jurisdiction.
Relevant Population Characteristics:
- Risk Factor for Childhood Lead Exposure: Pre-1950 and Pre-1980 Housing
- Children Under Five Years of Age Living in Poverty
Health Status Outcomes:
NoteLead poisoning testing counts and testing rates by county include only those children who could be assigned to a county. Among children born in 2014, <4% of children tested could not be assigned to a specific county.
Data SourcesBirth Certificate Database, Office of Vital Statistics and Registry, New Jersey Department of Health Child Health Program, Family Health Services, New Jersey Department of Health
Measure Description for Childhood Lead Testing Coverage
Definition: Percent of New Jersey children tested for lead exposure before 36 months of age
Numerator: Number of children tested for lead exposure before 3 years of age, born in a specified year in a geographic area
Denominator: Number of live births to New Jersey resident mothers in a specified year in a geographic area