Blood Lead Testing
Why is Blood Lead Testing Important?
- On average 1 in 5 children get tested for lead in Wisconsin.
- There is no safe level of lead in the human body. Even very low levels of lead exposure can cause permanent brain damage and negatively affect learning, behavior and health throughout a child’s life.
- The only way to know a whether a child has lead poisoning is through a blood test.
Blood Lead Testing Requirements
Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Federal Medicaid Testing Policy states that children enrolled in Medicaid are required to receive blood lead testing as part of their Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (i.e., HealthCheck) services. All children enrolled in Medicaid or BadgerCare Plus need two blood lead tests by age 2 –
- First test around the first birthday
- Second test before the second birthday
Providers are responsible for ensuring that children receive blood lead tests at the required ages.
- Wisconsin DHS 2016 Report on Childhood Lead Poisoning in Wisconsin
- DHS Lead Poisoning: Emerging Sources of Lead P-01887A (PDF)
- The Wisconsin Blood Lead Registry is a web-based tool that allows providers to check a child’s blood lead testing history online. It is linked to the Wisconsin Immunization Registry and updated each week with new test results, including tests done at all locations, including WIC sites, Head Start and physicians’ offices.
- UW Health Preventive Health Care – Adult / Pediatric – Ambulatory Clinical Practice Guideline
Use the Wisconsin Blood Lead Screening Recommendations to assess risk of lead exposure and to determine who needs to be tested.
Assess for lead exposure by asking the “Four Easy Questions” at every well-child checkup from ages 6 months to 6 years –
- Is the child enrolled in Medicaid or the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program?
- Does the child live in or visit a building that was built before 1950 (including child care and homes of friends or relatives)?
- Does the child live in or visit a house or building that was built before 1978 with recent or ongoing renovations (including child care and homes of friends or relatives)?
- Does the child have a sibling or playmate with lead poisoning?
If the answer to any question is yes or unknown, obtain a blood lead test at age 12 months and again at around age 24 months or before the second birthday.
Test any child between the ages of 36-72 months (ages 3-6) who has never been tested.