Testing for Lead Poisoning

Who Should be Tested

Talk to your health care provider about whether your child needs to be tested for lead. Your health care provider may ask you questions to see if your child is at risk for lead poisoning. The only way to know for sure if your child has been exposed to lead, is to have their blood tested.

If any of the following are true, your child could be at risk for lead poisoning and you should talk to your health care provider about a blood lead test.

My child lives in, or regularly visits a home built before 1978 that:

My child has:

Someone does one of these things in my house:

Someone who lives in my house works at:

How Testing is Done

A health care provider will test your child's blood for lead. The test is simple. To find out how much lead is in a child's blood, a small amount of blood is taken from the child's arm or finger.

What the Test Results Mean

The amount of lead found in a child's blood is called a blood lead level. There is no totally safe level of lead for children. The blood lead level will tell if your child has been exposed to lead in the last month. Blood lead tests tell how many micrograms (millionth of a gram) of lead are in each deciliter (tenth of a liter) of a child's blood (µg/dL). Blood lead levels can range from typical (below 2 µg/dL) to very dangerous (above 20 µg/dL).

More information on blood test results:

If My Child Has Lead Poisoning

Fortunately, only a small number of babies and children have high enough levels of lead in their blood that they need treatment.

More Information

Lead in Washington State - Who is at risk, health effects, and how to prevent exposure.

Common Sources of Lead

Lead Publications

Lead Data, Washington Tracking Network