Lead Blood Testing

Lead Testing in Children

Children with lead poisoning usually do not look or act sick. That’s why a blood lead test is the best way to determine if someone has been recently exposed to lead. A blood lead test can tell you if you or your loved ones have recent or ongoing exposures to lead. However, a blood lead test cannot tell you whether you or your loved ones had exposures to lead in the past. 

  • Washtenaw County Health Department offers free blood lead testing for children up to 6 years old with Medicaid or who are uninsured. Please call 734-544-6700 to schedule an appointment. 
  • If you have have private insurance and have concerns about your child's exposure to lead, please contact your pediatrician for a blood lead test.
  • If you are an adult with concerns about your own exposure to lead, please talk with your healthcare provider about getting a blood lead test.

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Recommendations

The CDC recommends that all children ages 1 and 2 be screened for lead poisoning. Children who are 3 to 6 years old should be tested for lead if they have not been tested for lead before, and if they:

  • Live or spend time in pre-1978 housing
  • Have a sibling or playmate who has had lead poisoning

Elevated Blood Lead Level

An elevated blood lead level is defined by the "blood lead reference value (BLRV)." The BLRV identifies children with blood lead levels that are higher than most children's levels, based on data from a national survey. On October 28, 2021, the CDC updated the BLRV from 5 to 3.5 micrograms per deciliter.

More Information

For more information about lead, visit our Lead information page and Lead in Drinking Water in Washtenaw County page.

For concerns about a child's exposure to lead, or for follow up on an elevated blood lead level (EBL), please contact Jane Nickert, Public Health Nursing Director, at 734-544-9735.