Treatment of Lead Poisoning

Preventing disease and promoting healthy life styles is an important role for primary health care providers. Educating families with young children about lead hazards and the effects of lead poisoning can be part of routine pediatric well-child visits. Knowing when to test, how risk is determined, and how to treat lead poisoning are the next steps. These resources can be used as references for standards of care for lead poisoning.

Low Level Lead Exposure Harms Children: A Renewed Call for Primary Prevention (PDF, 17 KB) - While there is no level of lead in blood that is safe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children with blood lead levels (BLLs) of 5 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL) or above get some follow-up action.

The CDC recommendations for clinical intervention with a child with a BLL of 5mcg/dL or greater are:

  • Confirm a capillary blood lead test with a venous draw within 1 to 3 months.
  • Have child tested on the appropriate follow-up testing schedule.
  • Get a complete history and physical exam on the child.
  • Order the appropriate laboratory tests on the child such as tests for low iron or anemia.
  • Monitor the child's growth and development, especially as the child ages and enters school.
  • Provide education to the family on the sources of lead and how to reduce any lead hazards found.

Additional Resources

Parents: Look Out for Lead (PDF, 92 KB) En Español (PDF, 67 KB)

What You Should Know about Your Child's Blood Lead Results (PDF, 1.0 MB)

Blood Lead Levels in Children: What Do Parents Need to Know to Protect Their Children? (PDF, 220 KB)

For More Information

Managing Elevated Blood Lead Levels Among Young Children Recommendations from the Center for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. It provides basic standards and principles of medical case management. The protocols for care are the same but the reference value for the BLL was changed in 2012 from 10 mcg/dL to 5mcg/dL.

Developmental Surveillance and Screening of Infants and Young Children (PDF, 1.0 MB) - Provides recommendations for screening infants and young children and intervening with families to identify developmental delays and disabilities in the primary care setting to assure access to early intervention services.

Wisconsin Local Health Departments - Local health departments follow up on children with elevated blood lead levels. The link provides contact information for local public health department personnel.

Last Revised: August 2, 2016