Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that states test children for lead poisoning at ages 1 and 2. The CDC also recommends testing for children ages 3 to 6 if they:

  • Have never been tested before
  • Receive public assistance, such as Medicaid
  • Live in or frequently visit a home built before 1950 or a home built before 1978 that was recently remodeled
  • Have a friend or sibling who has had lead poisoning

Doctors usually use a simple blood test to detect lead poisoning. A small blood sample is taken from a finger prick or from a vein. Lead levels in the blood are measured in micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL). An unsafe level is 10 mcg/dL or higher.

Mar. 12, 2011