Lead screening

Lead screening

Lead screening is an important screening tool in the health monitoring of your child. Lead can cause serious damage to children’s brains even at relatively low levels of exposure. The effects of lead poisoning on learning and behavior are largely irreversible.

At our office we routinely screen for lead risk exposures at all well exams from ages 6 months to 6 years in concordance with the state of Missouri’s Healthy Children and Youth program guidelines. If any risk factors for exposure are identified, lead testing is recommend annually through age six.  Testing is also recommended for women of child-bearing age with risk factors.

The lead test can either be done as an outpatient lab at the hospital (usually drawn from a vein in the arm) or through the local health department (usually drawn from a capillary in the finger). The cost varies from $0-$200 depending on your county health department funding and your insurance coverage. The test measures the amount of lead in the blood.

If the level is high, repeat testing may be recommended. High blood lead levels generate an investigation to identify and eliminate sources of lead in the child’s environment. Annual testing is recommended through age six, even with a normal initial test, when risk factors persist.

More information on lead risk exposures can be found at the following link: Lead Exposure: Steps to Protect Your Family

If you think that your child has been exposed to lead, talk with your pediatrician about getting a blood test to check for lead.

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