Clinical Summary

Elevated Blood Lead Levels in Children and Pregnant Women: Screening

Recommendations made by the USPSTF are independent of the U.S. government. They should not be construed as an official position of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Apr 16, 2019

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Population Children 5 years and younger and pregnant persons
Recommendation No recommendation.
Grade: I (insufficient evidence)
Screening Tests Elevated blood lead levels can be detected by measuring capillary or venous blood lead levels. Capillary blood testing is recommended for initial screening. Patients with positive screening results from capillary blood samples should have confirmatory venous blood testing.

Questionnaires to identify children at increased risk of elevated blood lead levels are poorly accurate. The most commonly used questionnaire is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention screening questionnaire.

Treatment and Interventions Treatment options include residential lead hazard control measures, educational interventions (eg, counseling on household dust control measures), environmental interventions (eg, soil abatement, dust or paint removal, or removal of contaminated water sources), nutritional interventions, and chelation therapy. Finding the source of lead exposure is essential in preventing repeated or future exposures.

For a summary of the evidence systematically reviewed in making this recommendation, the full recommendation statement, and supporting documents, please go to