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Talk to your doctor about whether you or your family is at risk for lead poisoning. During a routine health exam, the risk for lead exposure can be evaluated by answering questions about family members' living and working conditions. The doctor may then decide whether blood lead levels should be measured.
The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires companies to test the blood of employees who work with lead. OSHA sets industry standards to protect workers.
Adults who do not work with lead usually are not tested for lead poisoning. If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, you may want to ask your doctor about your risk for lead poisoning. A pregnant person who is exposed to lead can pass it to their baby (fetus). Lead can also be passed to a baby through breast milk. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) does not recommend routine testing of blood lead levels in pregnant people who don't have symptoms.footnote 1
Children should be checked, no matter what their age, if they have been exposed to lead or if they have symptoms that could be caused by lead poisoning.
If the answers to the following questions are "yes" or "I don't know," a lead test may need to be done.
The USPSTF does not recommend:footnote 1
Programs to screen for lead poisoning focus on finding children or adults who are likely to be exposed to lead. These programs, developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), advise local and state agencies to determine which geographic areas are the most likely to be at risk for lead exposure. Age of housing is an important factor in determining risk, because older homes tend to have lead-based paint. If lead exposure is likely, then blood tests for infants and young children will be recommended to measure blood lead levels.
State and local health departments can provide information on testing recommendations in your area.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2019). Final recommendation statement: Elevated blood levels in children and pregnant women: Screening. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/elevated-blood-lead-levels-in-childhood-and-pregnancy-screening. Accessed April 16, 2019 .
Current as of:
February 28, 2023
Author: Healthwise StaffClinical Review BoardAll Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
Current as of: February 28, 2023
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
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