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Blood Lead Testing

Too much lead can harm both children and adults. No one knows exactly how much lead it takes to cause health problems. Many timeschildhoodleadex_Web there are no symptoms until the health problems are very serious. Usually, people who are lead-poisoned do not seem to be sick.

Lead poisoning can cause learning, behavior, and health problems in young children. Lead can cause high blood pressure and kidney damage in adults.

Which children need to be tested?

The Minnesota Childhood Blood Lead Screening Guidelines (PDF) recommend that ALL children should get a blood lead test around 12 and 24 months of age. They also recommend that children age 25 months through 17 years should get a blood lead test if they meet the criteria in the risk questionnaire found in the screening guidelines.

If you are concerned your child may have been exposed to lead, talk to their healthcare provider and request a blood lead test. The screening guidelines recommend a child should receive a blood lead test if their parent or guardian expresses concern about lead exposure or asks for their child to be tested for lead poisoning.

Pregnant and breastfeeding adults are also recommended to get a blood lead test from their health care provider if they meet the criteria for a blood lead test based on the Blood Lead Screening Guidelines for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women risk questionnaire (PDF). Other adults may also want to ask their healthcare provider for a blood lead test if they think they may have been exposed to lead through their work, hobbies, or by using products found to contain lead.

If you have more questions about blood lead testing, you can contact the MDH Health Risk Intervention staff listed on the MDH Lead Contacts webpage.

Where can I get a blood lead test for my child?

Routine blood lead tests are covered by insurance and medical assistance programs as a preventative health care service.

Contact your child’s primary healthcare provider to request a blood lead test. If your child does not have a primary health care provider or health insurance, there are several resources available:

  • Norman-Mahnomen Public Health (NMPH) offers free or low-cost lead testing depending on insurance eligibility. Please call NMPH for questions or to make an appointment.
  • MDH Child and Teen Checkups: Information for Families has information about Child and Teen Checkups (C&TC) appointments and resources for families. The C&TC Free Child Checkups website helps families determine C&TC eligibility, learn about C&TC appointments, and find medical or dental clinics, health insurance, transportation assistance, translation services, appointment scheduling, and resources such as food, mental health, crisis, and shelter. This site provides resources by county and assistance in Hmong, Spanish, and Somali.
  • Help Me Connect is a navigator site connecting expectant families, families with young children (birth – 8 years old), and those working with families to services in their local communities that support healthy child development and family well-being. Their site includes information about many services and programs that are free or low-cost including healthy development and screening, and is also available in Hmong, Spanish, and Somali.


For more information visit: Minnesota Department of Health: Lead Information for Families