Testing for Lead Exposure

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) recommends children at age 9-months and at age 2 years be screened for lead exposure. Test results of any child age younger than 6 years with an elevated blood lead level (10 micrograms per deciliter or greater) are reported to the Health Department for follow-up.

Does Fairfax County Health Department provide any blood lead testing for children?
Lead screening is provided for children without medical health insurance up to and including 72 months of age at local Health Department clinics. This service includes counseling and screening for elevated levels of lead in the blood stream, and appropriate follow-up of test results. Parent or legal guardian who can provide medical history must accompany child for service.

What If My Child Has Blood Test Results That Are Elevated For Lead?

  • Taking early ACTION will lower blood lead levels in children.
  • Wash the child's hands regularly before they eat or drink and after playing outside or on the floor.
  • Increase the amounts of calcium and iron in their diet to reduce the body’s uptake of lead.
  • Improve home cleaning by using wet methods to effectively remove all dusts and dirt.
  • Identify possible sources of lead and keep them away from your child

If Lead Poisoning Is Found, Should All Family Members Be Tested?
A case of elevated blood lead indicates an environmental source of lead, often in the home. Brothers and sisters up to 6 years of age should be tested. If the source is a home renovation project, parents and older siblings may need to be evaluated to check for signs of exposure. If the source is found to be a day care center, other children in that facility should be tested.

Can a child with an elevated blood lead level return home?
If a child is to receive chelation therapy as an outpatient and the home is found to be the source of the lead, the child should live somewhere else until the source of the lead is removed from the home.

Will Fairfax County Do Lead Testing of Toys or Other Products?
No, Fairfax County does not do testing. There have been many reports of product recalls. If you believe a toy has been recalled remove it from your child’s access and check the list of recalls by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Centers for Disease Control.

What is an Environmental Blood Lead Level Evaluation?
An Environmental Blood Lead Level Evaluation investigates all possible sources of lead exposure for the child. These evaluations involve education and guidance for the parents or guardians of the lead poisoned child. The investigations can involve the child's home and daycare, their food and water, the toys and playgrounds. The evaluation is used to create a Lead Hazard Control Plan for interim lead controls and abatement of lead hazards.

Blood Lead level (?g/dL) Action Time Frame
(Begin intervention)

• Provide caregiver lead education: Dietary and Environmental
• Follow-up blood lead testing
• Refer for WIC and social services, if needed

Within 30 days

Above actions, plus:
• Proceed according to actions for 20-40 ug/dL if: A follow-up blood lead level is in this range at least three months after initial venous test, or the blood lead levels increase

Within 2 weeks
Above actions, plus:
• Provide coordination of care (case management)
•Provide environmental investigation and control lead hazards
Within 1 week
Above actions Within 48 hours
70 and above
Above actions, plus:
• Hospitalize child and begin medical treatment (chelation therapy) immediately.
• Contact a regional treatment center listed below.
Within 24 hours

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