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Who Should Get Blood Lead Testing?

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Identify Risk Factors for Possible Lead Poisoning.

The Lead Exposure Risk Index Model combines lead risk from housing and poverty and displays it on a map. Other factors that influence lead exposure are not currently included on the map.

Risk Factors

The Washington State Department of Health recommends testing children for elevated blood lead levels when they meet any of the following risk factors:

  • Lives in or regularly visits any house built before 1950.
  • Lives in or regularly visits any house built before 1978 with recent or ongoing renovations or remodeling.
  • From a low-income family.
  • Known to have a sibling or frequent playmate with an elevated blood lead level.
  • Is a recent immigrant, refugee, foreign adoptee or child in foster care.
  • Has a parent or caregiver who works professionally or recreationally with lead:
    • Remodeling/demolition
    • Painting
    • Works in or visits gun ranges
    • Mining
    • Battery recycling
    • Makes fishing weights or shotgun pellets
    • Stained glass
    • Pottery
    • Soldering or welding.
  • Uses traditional, folk or ethnic remedies or cosmetics. Examples: Greta, Ghasard, Ba-baw-san, Sindoor and Kohl.

Healthcare providers should consider testing children who don't meet these risk factors based on clinical judgments. Examples:

  • Children who have parents with concerns or request testing.
  • Older children who may be at risk, including those with hobbies that potentially expose them to lead or use traditional, folk or ethnic remedies or cosmetics imported from abroad. Also, refugee children up to age 16.
  • Children living within a kilometer of an airport, lead emitting industries or on former orchard land. Former orchards and information about lead is also available on the Washington State Department of Ecology's website.
  • Children with pica behavior.
  • Children with neuro-developmental disabilities or conditions like autism, ADHD and learning delays.
  • Children with families who use imported ceramics, foods, spices, candies from Mexico (like those with chili powder or tamarindo).

Content from Department of Health's Clinical Algorithm for Targeted Childhood Lead Testing and Expert Panel Childhood Lead Screening Guidelines.


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