Childhood Lead Testing Recommendations

The North Shore Health Department recommends that all children be tested according to the Wisconsin blood lead screening recommendations.

Pregnant women, or women who may become pregnant, should also be aware of lead hazards in their environments in order to protect their unborn baby. If you are pregnant or may become pregnant, talk to your doctor about your risk of lead exposure.

How is a lead test done? 
Lead testing requires taking a small sample of blood. Lead tests may be done by doing a finger stick (capillary test) or drawing blood from the arm (venous test).  

Where can I get my child tested? 
Your child’s primary health care provider is the best place to get tested. Lead tests are paid for by most insurance plans. Testing for Medicaid-eligible children is required and paid for by Medicaid.

WIC programs and some head start programs may also offer lead tests to their clients.

What can I do to find out my child’s lead test results? 
Check with your doctor or clinic for the results of your child’s blood lead test. You can also call the North Shore Health Department to request information about your child’s blood lead history.

What action is taken if my child has lead in their blood? 
Every blood lead test for a child is required to be reported to the child’s local health department. For children who live in the North Shore, the health department initiates outreach to a parent or caregiver when a child's blood lead levels are reported to be above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL). For more information please visit the North Shore Health Department's
case management services.

After an initial capillary (finger stick) test, it may be recommended that your child receive additional testing to confirm the results. If an initial capillary test shows an elevated blood lead level, a venous test (from the arm) should be scheduled as soon as possible in order to confirm the lead level. Depending on a child's reported blood lead level, ongoing testing may be recommended.

If a blood lead level is reported at 45 µg/dL or more, a venous test should be performed immediately to determine if emergency medical care is necessary.