Lead Test

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To screen for elevated concentrations of lead in your blood

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If you may have been exposed to lead where you live or work; children especially should be tested as they may have inhaled dust or ingested substances that could contain lead (e.g., from paint chips or water from lead pipes found in older housing). It is also important that pregnant women who think they may have been exposed also get tested due to the risk of maternal to fetal transfer of lead through the placenta.

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A blood sample taken from a vein in your arm

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The test measures the concentration of lead within the blood. Lead is a metal that is known to be poisonous. In the past, lead was used in paints, petrol, and other household products, which can still be found, for example, in older housing. Some work activities and hobbies can still expose you to lead. While preventable, lead poisoning remains a public health problem in the UK that can cause irreversible damage to the health of children as well as adults.

If untreated, excess lead in the body can cause great damage, even if a person has no obvious symptoms or problems. Impaired learning and development among children is a major consequence of lead poisoning. The function of the kidneys may also be greatly reduced, and the ability of nerves to conduct messages quickly through the body is a major problem with lead toxicity. Lead can also harm the reproductive organs and cause miscarriages and birth defects when passed from mother to unborn child.