Medical Surveillance

Revised Kansas Childhood Blood Lead Testing and Case Management GuidelinesLead poisoning is a preventable pediatric health problem affecting Kansas' children. Lead is a toxic metal that produces many adverse health effects. Lead poisoning is a disease caused by exposure to and the absorption of lead. It is persistent and cumulative. It does not degrade. Childhood Lead Poisoning occurs in all population groups and income brackets.

Early identification and treatment of lead poisoning reduces the risk that children will suffer permanent damage. A blood lead test is the only way to tell if a child has an elevated blood level.

Pathways to Lead Exposure

  • Inhalation
  • Ingestion

Signs and Symptoms:

Most children are asymptomatic. Some signs and symptoms may include, headache, lack of appetite, vomiting, fatigue, anemia, stomachache, constipation, or seizures.

Lead Absorption:

  • Adults: Approximately 5-15% of ingested lead is absorbed.
  • Children: Approximately 50% of ingested lead is absorbed.


A diet low in fat and high in iron and calcium can reduce the lead the body absorbs. This is because a diet that lacks iron, calcium and zinc will cause the body to absorb lead instead of these needed minerals.

Lead Toxicity testing:

Child health care providers shall use a blood lead test¹ to screen the following children:

  • Child is 12 or 24 months of age
  • Child under 6 years of age who has never received a blood lead test
  • Child is receiving a Kan-Be-Healthy physical assessment
  • Child receives services from Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS), Women, Infants and Children (WIC), FirstGuard Health Plan (FG), HealthWave or
  • Child does not fit the criteria above, but parent/guardian answers "Yes" to any of the following questions :

"Does your child ...

  • Live in or visit a house or apartment built before 1960? (This could include a day care center, preschool, the home of a baby-sitter or relative, etc.)
  • Live in or regularly visit a house or apartment built before 1960 with previous, ongoing or planned renovation or remodeling?
  • Have a family member with an elevated blood lead level?
  • Interact with an adult whose job or hobby involves exposure to lead? (Furniture refinishing, making stained glass, electronics, soldering, automotive repair, making fishing weights and lures, reloading shotgun shells and bullets, firing guns at a shooting range, doing home repairs and remodeling, painting/stripping paint, antique/imported toys, and making pottery)
  • Live near a lead smelter, battery plant or other lead industry? (Ammunition/explosives, auto repair/auto body, cable/wire striping, splicing or production, ceramics, firing range, leaded glass factory, industrial machinery/equipment, jewelry manufacturer or repair, lead mine, paint/pigment manufacturer, plumbing, radiator repair, salvage metal or batteries, steel metalwork, or molten metal (foundry work) )
  • Use pottery, ceramic, or crystal wear for cooking, eating, or drinking?"

Methods of Blood Lead Testing

The Kansas Division of Health and Environmental Laboratories (DHEL) provide different methodologies for blood lead sample collection. These methodologies include:

  • Collection of a venous sample
  • Collection of a capillary sample using a capillary tube
  • Collection of a capillary sample placing blood drops on filter paper

To order an "Laboratory Requisition form" call 1-866-UnleadedKS, e-mail or download one at .


Helpful Hints to Reduce Lead

What Your Child's Blood Lead Test Results Mean



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