We retrospectively reviewed 3 679 pediatric records from King/Drew Medical Center, south central Los Angeles, between 1991 and 1994. Blood lead levels of children were followed to age 18 y. Patients were not referred specifically for lead poisoning. The sample was primarily Latino. Geometric mean blood lead peaked at 6.7 micrograms/dl (0.32 mumol/l) between 2 and 3 y of age. There was a downward secular trend and a seasonal trend. Males had higher lead levels than females. Children who lived in several zipcode areas, in which the lowest family incomes were reported, had higher lead levels. More Latino children had higher lead levels than African American children. Latino children (i.e., 20.2%) who were 1-5 y of age had blood lead levels that were > or = 10 micrograms/dl. Young Latino children in this zone of Los Angeles may be at increased risk for lead exposure.