The Lead Test measures the blood levels of lead through a venipuncture draw (a needle is used to draw blood from a vein). Lead is a toxic metal that can damage the brain, organs, and nervous system. Children are at particular risk of being harmed from lead exposure because their bodies are developing rapidly and able to absorb lead more easily than older children and adults. Further, young children have increased exposure to lead due to crawling on surfaces and repeatedly putting their hands and other items in their mouths. Any lead exposure can cause harm in children. Symptoms of lead exposure may include weakness, a decrease in the oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells (anemia), nausea, headaches, fatigue, and additional symptoms. While the most common sources of lead exposure are lead-based paint and contaminated dust in older buildings, exposure can also come from contaminated air, water, and soil.
This test may be appropriate for those who:
For those who may be exhibiting any signs and symptoms of lead toxicity, it is important to contact a healthcare provider immediately.
The Lead Test does not require fasting.
a Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine, Bright Futures Periodicity Schedule Workgroup. 2021 Recommendations for preventive pediatric health care. Pediatrics. 2021;147(3):e2020049776. doi:10.1542/peds.2020-049776
b CDC. Low level lead exposure harms children: a renewed call for primary prevention. Report of the Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention. January 4, 2012. Accessed October 19, 2021.