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

Management of Children With Confirmed Blood Lead Levels ≥ 5ug/dL
Blood Lead Level (ug/dL) Action Time Frame
5-9

Child’s health care provider:

  • Provides educational materials to include dietary and environmental
  • Monitors blood lead level with follow up test
Within 3 months
10-14

Case manager coordinates with child’s health care
provider:

  • Provides educational materials to include dietary and environmental
  • Perform phone nursing assessment
  • Follow-up blood lead testing within 30 days to assure not rising
  • Refer for WIC and social services, if needed
Within 30 days
15-19

Above actions, plus:

  • Proceed according to actions for 20-40 ug/dL if: A follow-up blood lead is 15 or above, or the blood lead level is increasing.
Within 2 weeks
20-44
Above actions, plus:
  • Provide coordination of care (case management) to include visit to home for nursing assessment
  • Coordinate a timely environmental investigation
Within 1 week
45-69
Above actions
  • Consider chelation
Within 48 hours
70 and above
Above actions, plus:
  • Hospitalize child and begin medical treatment (chelation therapy as appropriate) immediately.
Contact Emergency Lead Healthcare 866-SOS-LEAD (866-767-5323) for consultation and assistance.
Immediate,
Within 24 hours

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