Testing and Treatment


The first step in determining if you child has lead poisoning is to complete a blood lead screening test. This screening can be completed through the Jasper County Health Department's lead program or with your child's pediatrician. The two methods available for completing the screening are a capillary test (sample from a finger) and a venous test (sample from a vein). The latter is the most accurate. If you choose the capillary test and it is elevated a venous test must be completed in order to confirm the accuracy of the capillary test. Capillary test results may show a higher level of lead than what is actually present in the blood stream since it is possible for lead particles to remain on the finger even after it is cleaned in preparation for the test. Once the blood sample is obtained it will be sent to a lab for testing (see lead poisoning chart levels below). If a child is elevated a parent needs to determine the source of exposure and limit access to that exposure.


The lead program can assist parents in determining the sources of exposure by completing an environmental assessment of the child's home. If a child is undergoing treatment for lead poisoning it is also important to follow prevention tips to stop more lead from entering the body. Children who have lead poisoning should get at least three meals a day because full stomachs are less likely to absorb lead. Providing a diet high in Iron, protein, vitamin C, calcium, and low in fats/oils is essential for a lead poisoned child to be able to rid the body of lead as quickly as possible. Also, provide a daily vitamin supplement to ensure that the child is getting all the proper nutrients needed. A physician may prescribe a medicine (Chemet) to help rid the body of lead; however, typically the level must be greater than 44mcg/dL. While the child is taking Chemet the physician will complete lab tests to ensure the medicine is not harming organs in the child's body. During the chelating therapy the child should not be returned to the environment where the lead hazards are present until it has been controlled.

This medicine does not prevent lead from re-entering the body, therefore the source must still be found and the exposure limited. The Jasper County Health Department lead program can provide case management if the elevated child is 6 months to 6 years of age. Case management consists of the lead department providing a home visit to the child's home, free of charge, to educate the family on lead poisoning and completing an environmental assessment (obtaining water, soil, and dust samples and testing painted surfaces in the home) to determine where the exposure exists. In order to complete an assessment of the property the elevated child must have resided at the address for 3 months or more. If the child has not resided at the address for this amount of time, a visual walk through assessment and education may be completed, but no samples would be taken at that time. Once the child has resided at address for 3 months then a full environmental assessment may be completed. Prior to completing the environmental assessment, a letter will be sent to the property owner informing them of the date and time that the environmental assessment is scheduled to take place.

Once the environmental assessment is completed the environmental specialist will send samples to the lab and, when results are obtained, will provide a written report of the findings to the child's parent and property owner. The lead department will close case management on a child when 2 consecutive non-elevated results are obtained and will encourage yearly screening until the age of six.

BLOOD LEAD LEVELS ARE MEASURED
in “micrograms” of lead per “deciliter” of blood, or “mcg/dL.”

CONFIRMED BLOOD
LEAD LEVEL
SUGGESTED ACTIONS
0-9 mcg/dL No further action – rescreen as recommended.
10-14 mcg/dL Get follow-up testing within 3 months.  Get lead education and information on available services.
15-19 mcg/dL Get follow-up testing within 2 months.  Get lead education and information on available services.
20-44 mcg/dL Get complete medical evaluation and care. Find and get rid of lead hazards in the child’s home, school and play areas.
45-69 mcg/dL

Within 48 hours, begin:

  • medical evaluation and care
  • inspection for and removal of lead hazards

70 mcg/dL or above

Medical emergency.
Get immediate medical treatment and inspection of environment.