Lead Test

Definition - What does Lead Test mean?

A lead test is a procedure used to determine lead levels in a substance. When used in medical diagnostics, a lead test measures the level of lead in the test subject's blood. A lead test is relatively easy to perform, requiring either a skin prick or blood draw to obtain a sample. The test is often used to determine if an individual has been exposed to excessive levels of lead which can lead to a condition called lead poisoning.

A lead test is sometimes called a lead blood test.

WorkplaceTesting explains Lead Test

Lead is a naturally occurring element which also has many industrial uses. Lead may be found in paints, metals and other materials. When not disposed of properly, lead can accumulate in soil, leading to unintended exposure. Mishandling of materials containing lead can also lead to exposure and lead poisoning. Environmental exposure may also occur through airborne transmission. Lead tests are used to assess whether an individual has been exposed to lead in his or her environment and to what extent.

Often associated with childhood exposures, lead poisoning may also occur in occupational settings. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has created standards governing permissible industrial lead exposure limits to protect workers from excessive on the job lead exposure.

While researchers believe there is no safe lead blood level, a child with a level of 5 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL) is considered to have unsafe exposure. If a child's blood level reaches 45 mcg/dL, treatment to eliminate the risk of further exposure is necessary. In some cases, a person may need to undergo chelation therapy to eliminate the lead from their system.

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