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Lead Testing FAQ

Blood Lead Testing

Who needs to be tested?
The City of Milwaukee recommends all children be tested three times before three years of age. Children ages 3-5 years old who are at greater risk for lead exposure also need testing. Current federal rules require all children enrolled in Medicaid receive a blood lead test. Click here to view the Milwaukee Health Department's Blood Lead Testing Recommendations for Children.

When should testing be done?
Children from ages 6 months to 3 years are at greatest risk for lead exposure because of their rapid growth and development along with their increasing mobility and hand-to-mouth activity. Milwaukee recommends children be tested 3 times before age 3 years (around 12 months, around 18 months, and around 24 months). Children up to the age of 6 years should have a blood lead test if there is no record of a previous test, if they live in housing built before 1978 with recent or ongoing renovation, or if they have a sibling or playmate who has lead poisoning. Additionally, children who are uninsured, or receiving Medicaid, Healthcheck, or WIC need to be tested.

How is a lead test done?
Lead testing requires taking a small smaple 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?
Blood lead testing is best done by the child's Primary Care Provider (doctor or clinic) as part of the child's routine health care. Parents and caregivers need to assure this is done during visits to their child's Primary Care Provider.

Milwaukee Health Department Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) programs and some Head Start programs may also offer lead tests to their clients.

Test Results

What can I do to find out my child's lead results?
1 - Check with your doctor or clinic who will have laboratory results of your child's blood draw.

2 - Every blood lead test result for a child who lives in the City of Milwaukee is required to be reported to The Milwaukee Health Department. After the result is received, The Milwaukee Health Department will send a letter to the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the child with specific information regarding the child's lead level and will provide other services as needed.

3 - Call the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 414-286-5987 and request information about your child's blood lead history.

For further information on any or all of the above, contact the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 414-286-5987.