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Test Code 043 Lead, Whole Blood

Important Note

Excessive absorption of lead in children can affect growth and development without overt symptoms. Studies have shown that groups of children with higher lead levels are likely to have lower IQ scores, slower development and more attention problems than similar children with lower lead levels. The CDC has stated that levels of 10 mcg/dL or more in children are cause for concern, and immediate follow-up to remove the source of exposure may be indicated. Medical intervention may be required in some cases. Adults can tolerate larger amounts of lead without ill effects. Current medical opinion is that levels up to 40 mcg/dL pose no particular hazard to adults. Blood lead levels exceeding 70 mcg/dL are frequently associated with classical symptoms of lead toxicity. The OSHA lead standard mandates periodic blood lead testing as a means of monitoring worker exposure to lead. Employees whose lead levels reach the mcg/dL level must be offered a medical examination and follow increased monitoring intervals. The OSHA Lead Standard Medical Removal Provision requires exposed workers whose three test average is at or above 53 mcg/dL be removed from exposure until the blood lead has decreased to 42 mcg/dL. Employees must also be afforded the opportunity to have their blood tested for protoporphyrin. Although OSHA has mandated protoporphyrin testing, no guidelines for medical removal based on the protoporphyrin level have been established. In the state of Iowa pediatric lead levels are reported to the State Health Department. Follow up testing and treatment are coordinated with the attending physician.

Additional Codes

ALAB: LEAD

Specimen Requirement

Whole blood is required.

Additional Specimen Collection Information

Specimen Collection and Handling: 

Capillary Whole Blood.

  • Use only the heparinized capillary tubes provided with the LeadCare II Test Kit.
  • The capillary tube must be filled to the fill line (50 µl) for accurate results.
  • Make sure the capillary tube is free of gaps and bubbles.
  • Blood collected in a capillary tube must be dispensed into a treatment reagent tube within 10 minutes of collection.

EDTA microtainers are also an acceptable specimen.

  • Capillary specimens are the only acceptable specimen type for microtainers.
  • Microtainers must be at least half full.

Useful For

Detecting lead toxicity

Performance

Performed daily at MercyOne Maquoketa site.

CPT Code Information

83655 Chemistry: Lead

LOINC Code Information

5671-3 Lead [Mass/Volume] In Blood

Test Method

Anodic Stripping Voltammetry; LeadCare II Blood Analyzer

Reference Values

0-5 years:  < 3.5 mcg/dL

6+ years: <5.0 mcg/dL

 

Lead values >10.0 mcg/dL are referred to Mayo for confirmation.

 

  • Critical Values:

    Pediatrics (≤15 years): ≥20.0 mcg/dL

    Adults (≥16 years): ≥70.0 mcg/dL