The state of lead poisoning in the US

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Could the Flint Water Crisis Happen Here in Iowa?

The dangerous amount of lead recently found in the water supply of Flint, Mich. came as a shock to the majority of the American people. Believe it or not, many other states are familiar with the problem of elevated lead levels in children.

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HealthGrove found 21 states with the percentages of children younger than 72 months that tested positive for elevated blood lead levels. Elevated blood lead levels is defined as equal to or greater than 10 ug/dL lead in blood for children younger than 72 months old. These blood lead levels are detected through blood lead tests conducted in labs. HealthGrove only included states that reported 2014 statistics, as data reporting is not mandatory for all states, and the list is in no particular order as coverage in each state is sparse.

RELATED: The crisis in Flint, Michigan:

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The state of lead poisoning in the US
People wait in line to attend a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy about the tainted water in Flint, Michigan, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, March 17, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 23: A volunteer walks by cases of bottled water at the St. Mark Baptist Church in Flint, Mich., that serves as a water distribution area, February 23, 2016. The water supply was not properly treated after being switched from Lake Huron to the Flint River and now contains lead and iron. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 23: From left, Immanuel Stinson, Tirrell Mills, Walter Simmons, and Charles Reid, man a water distribution area at the St. Mark Baptist Church in Flint, Mich., February 23, 2016. The water supply was not properly treated after being switched from Lake Huron to the Flint River and now contains lead and iron. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 26: Matt Hopper holds and comforts Nyla Hopper, age 5 of Flint, after she has her blood drawn to be tested for lead on January 26, 2016 at Eisenhower Elementary School in Flint, Michigan. Free lead screenings are performed for Flint children 6-years-old and younger, one of several events sponsored by Molina Healthcare following the city's water contamination and federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 03: Flint residents Gladyes Williamson (C) holds a bottle full of contaminated water, and a clump of her hair, alongside Jessica Owens (R), holding a baby bottle full of contaminated water, during a news conference after attending a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Flint, Michigan water crisis on Capitol Hill February 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. Williamson, and Owens traveled to Washington by bus with other flint familes to attend the House hearing on the crisis, and demand that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder be brought before Congress to testify under oath. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 03: Flint resident Jessica Owens holds a baby bottle full of contaminated water, during a news conference after attending a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Flint, Michigan water crisis on Capitol Hill February 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. Owens and other Flint families traveled to Washington by bus to attend a House hearing on the crisis and demand that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder be brought before Congress to testify under oath. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 03: Flint residents call for justice during a news conference, after attending a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Flint, Michigan water crisis on Capitol Hill February 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. A group of Flint families traveled to Washington by bus to attend a House hearing on the crisis and demand that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder be brought before Congress to testify under oath. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 03: Flint resident Leroy Jackson attends a news conference with Flint families after attending a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Flint, Michigan water crisis on Capitol Hill February 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. Jackson and other Flint families traveled to Washington by bus to attend a House hearing and demand that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder be brought before Congress to testify under oath. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 3: From left, Marc Edwards, Charles P. Lundsford Professor of Environmental and Water Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, looks on as LeeAnne Walters, Flint resident who helped expose the lead crisis, testifies during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Examining Federal Administration of the Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, Michigan on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 27: A sign at a local restaurant reassures customers that they are not on Flint water but on uncontaminated water pulled from Detroit on January 27, 2016 at Westside Diner in Flint, Michigan. Local restaurants have faced concerns following the contamination of Flint's water and subsequent federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 24: Matt Krol speaks to protestors and citizens about the Flint Water Crisis on January 24, 2016 at Flint City Hall in Flint, Michigan. The event was organized by Genesee County Volunteer Militia to protest corruption they see in government related to the Flint water crisis that resulted in a federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 24: A shirt worn by a man during a rally displays a poisonous logo alongside the text 'City of Flint MI Water Dept.' on January 24, 2016 at Flint City Hall in Flint, Michigan. The event was organized by Genesee County Volunteer Militia to protest corruption they see in government related to the Flint water crisis that resulted in a federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 24: Protestors hold signs and listen as Dave McKellar speaks about the troubles facing Flint at a rally on January 24, 2016 at Flint City Hall in Flint, Michigan. The event was organized by Genesee County Volunteer Militia to protest corruption they see in government related to the Flint water crisis that resulted in a federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 24: Darius Simpson, an Eastern Michigan University student from Akron, Ohio, carries water he brought to donate for Flint residents during a rally on January 24, 2016 at Flint City Hall in Flint, Michigan. The event was organized by Genesee County Volunteer Militia to protest corruption they see in government related to the Flint water crisis that resulted in a federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 23: A water collection device is handed out to citizens of Flint for testing contaminated water on January 23, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. A federal state of emergency has been declared due to the city's water supply being contaminated. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 24: Arthur Woodson, self proclaimed 'Water Warrior' from Flint, Michigan, speaks about the Flint Water Crisis on January 24, 2016 at Flint City Hall in Flint, Michigan. The event was organized by Genesee County Volunteer Militia to protest corruption they see in government related to the Flint water crisis that resulted in a federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 27: Signs for a local restaurant reassure customers that they are not on Flint water but on uncontaminated water pulled from Detroit on January 27, 2016 at Westside Diner in Flint, Michigan. Local restaurants have faced concerns following the contamination of Flint's water and subsequent federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 27: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder wears pins as he speaks to the media regarding the status of the Flint water crisis on January 27, 2016 at Flint City Hall in Flint, Michigan. A federal state of emergency has been declared in Flint related to the city's water becoming contaminated. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 23: National Guard members distributing water to citizens of Flint on January 23, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. Water is being handed out for free to citizens of Flint following a federal state of emergency being declared due to the city's water supply becoming contaminated. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 17: Justin Roberson (L), age 6, of Flint, Michigan and Mychal Adams, age 1, of Flint wait on a stack of bottled water at a rally where the Rev. Jesse Jackson was speaking about about the water crises at the Heavenly Host Baptist Church January 17, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. U.S. President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency in Michigan, which will free up federal aid to help the city of Flint with lead contaminated drinking water. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder requested emergency and disaster declarations after activating the National Guard to help the American Red Cross distribute water to residents. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 17: A sign on a the front of a building warns residents to filter their water January 17, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. U.S. President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency in Michigan, which will free up federal aid to help the city of Flint with lead contaminated drinking water. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder requested emergency and disaster declarations after activating the National Guard to help the American Red Cross distribute water to residents. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 17: The Flint River flows in downtown January 17, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. U.S. President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency in Michigan, which will free up federal aid to help the city of Flint with lead contaminated drinking water. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder requested emergency and disaster declarations after activating the National Guard to help the American Red Cross distribute water to residents. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 17: Soldiers from the Michigan Army National Guard Flint hand out bottled water at a fire station January 17, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. U.S. President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency in Michigan, which will free up federal aid to help the city of Flint with lead contaminated drinking water. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder requested emergency and disaster declarations after activating the National Guard to help the American Red Cross distribute water to residents. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 13: A sign points the ay for Flint residents to get bottled water, water testing kits, and water filters at a Flint Fire Station January 13, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. On Tuesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder activated the National Guard to help the American Red Cross distribute water to Flint residents to help them deal with the lead contamination that is in the City of Flint's water supply. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 13: Michigan National Guard Staff Sergeant Steve Kiger of Beaverton, Michigan, welcomes Flint, Michigan residents as they arrive at a Flint Fire Station to get bottled water January 13, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. On Tuesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder activated the National Guard to help the American Red Cross distribute water to Flint residents to help them deal with the lead contamination that is in the City of Flint's water supply. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 13: The Flint Water Plant tower is shown January 13, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. On Tuesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder activated the National Guard to help the American Red Cross distribute water to Flint residents to help them deal with the lead contamination that is in the City of Flint's water supply. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 13: Michigan National Guard Staff Sergeant William Phillips (right) of Birch Run, Michigan, helps a worker unload a pallet of bottled water at a Flint Fire Station January 13, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. On Tuesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder activated the National Guard to help the American Red Cross distribute water to Flint residents to help them deal with the lead contamination that is in the City of Flint's water supply. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
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HealthGrove also noted the number of toxic chemicals in each state as of 2013, which is data gathered by the Health Indicators Warehouse. This is defined as the quantity of toxic chemicals (defined as Toxic Release Inventory chemicals) that are disposed of, released to the environment, or managed (for example, treated or recycled) by regulated facilities. TRI is a database that contains detailed information on nearly 650 chemicals and chemical categories that over 23,000 industrial and other facilities manage through disposal or other releases, recycling, energy recovery, or treatment. Data is collected from regulated facilities in industries including manufacturing, metal and coal mining, electric utilities, commercial hazardous waste treatment, and other industrial sectors. HealthGrove also calculated the pounds of toxic chemicals released and disposed of per capita.

These elevated lead levels aren't simply the product of contaminated water. In fact, many cases of lead poisoning stem from lead-based paint. Also, even lower levels of lead (like 2 ug/dL) can be associated with mental impairment. Fortunately, there have been many state regulations in the past few decades to reduce exposure to lead.

Note: Louisiana was not included in this list due to lack of reporting in many of its counties, but those counties that have reported their data have seen abnormally high rates of lead poisoning in small children.

#21. Tennessee

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.14%

Toxic chemicals: 78,013,698 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 12.18
Population: 6,402,387

#20. Arizona

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.14%

Toxic chemicals: 70,121,662 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 10.82
Population: 6,479,703

#19. Georgia

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.15%

Toxic chemicals: 71,399,684 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 7.28
Population: 9,810,417

#18. Mississippi

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.23%

Toxic chemicals: 67,182,036 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 22.57
Population: 2,976,872

#17. Minnesota

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.25%

Toxic chemicals: 26,355,994 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 4.93
Population: 5,347,740

#16. Maryland

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.3%

Toxic chemicals: 8,277,916 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 1.42
Population: 5,834,299

#15. Kentucky

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.37%

Toxic chemicals: 72,093,781 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 16.53
Population: 4,361,333

#14. Massachusetts

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.37%

Toxic chemicals: 3,586,455 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 0.54
Population: 6,605,058

#13. Michigan

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.46%

Toxic chemicals: 69,618,166 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 7.04
Population: 9,886,095

#12. Oklahoma

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.5%

Toxic chemicals: 30,227,185 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 7.98
Population: 3,785,742

#11. Alabama

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.51%

Toxic chemicals: 87,083,995 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 18.14
Population: 4,799,277

#10. Indiana

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.54%

Toxic chemicals: 153,044,979 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 23.49
Population: 6,514,861

#9. Vermont

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.57%

Toxic chemicals: 271,178 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 0.43
Population: 625,904

#8. New Hampshire

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.67%

Toxic chemicals: 726,528 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 0.55
Population: 1,319,171

#7. West Virginia

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.69%

Toxic chemicals: 37,999,716 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 20.5
Population: 1,853,619

#6. Connecticut

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.69%

Toxic chemicals: 2,099,282 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 0.58
Population: 3,583,561

#5. Wisconsin

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.77%

Toxic chemicals: 35,696,862 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 6.25
Population: 5,706,871

#4. Rhode Island

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.81%

Toxic chemicals: 302,326 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 0.29
Population: 1,051,695

#3. Ohio

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 0.96%

Toxic chemicals: 130,988,494 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 11.34
Population: 11,549,590

#2. Pennsylvania

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 1.28%

Toxic chemicals: 97,111,482 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 7.63
Population: 12,731,381

#1. New York

Percent of children with elevated lead levels: 1.46%

Toxic chemicals: 16,783,980 lbs
Pounds of chemicals per capita: 0.86
Population: 19,487,053

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