"CHERRYVALE, Kan. — Recent lead levels among children tested in a southeast Kansas town that was home to a zinc smelter were 'significantly' higher than statewide and national levels, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Tests conducted from 2005 to 2012 showed children tested in Cherryvale had a mean blood lead level of 4.54 micrograms per deciliter, the KDHE said in an analysis of the tests. The mean level for children in Montgomery County was 3.17, and the state was 2.49. The national average, which has been dropping, was 1.3 from 2007-2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
'My takeaway from the analysis is Montgomery County is an area of the state that we’re seeing average blood lead levels among children that is higher than what the state average is, and within that, Cherryvale itself, is also higher than the state average, and those are statistically significant higher numbers,' Farah Ahmed, KDHE’s state environmental health officer, said Thursday."