Blood Lead Level Testing

Many parents do not know that lead poisoning still occurs. Children with low levels of lead in their blood may not have any symptoms. A blood test is the only way to know if a child is poisoned. Lead exposure impacts the brain and nervous system of a child and often goes undetected until the child is older.

Children under six years of age are at highest risk of lead poisoning because of their size and their endless curiosity. At minimum, child blood lead tests should be completed at age 12 and 24 months. According to 2021 Iowa Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention data, only 58% of 12 month olds and 44% of 24 month olds in Scott County had received a lead test.

Screening Requirements for Kindergarten Enrollment

In Iowa, law requires that all children starting kindergarten have at least one blood lead test. House File 158, referred to as “Mandatory Blood Lead Testing,” became effective July 1, 2008. The Mandatory Blood Testing Rules can be found here

Screening Requirements for Medicaid

Medicaid enrolled children are required to receive a blood test at 12 and 24 months.

Additional Testing

As a parent, you should consider having your child tested after 2 years of age if any of the following are true:

  • Your child had a prior elevated blood lead level or has a sibling with an elevated blood lead level
  • Your family lives in an older and/or poorly maintained rental property or moves frequently
  • Your child participates in Medicaid
  • Your child has a mental or behavioral diagnosis that increases mouthing behaviors to communicate, self sooth, or to explore their environment
  • You and/or those who spend time with your child are exposed to lead at work or while participating in a hobby

Children who live in Scott County can be tested at a doctor’s office or at Scott County Health Department. Details on testing your child for lead at the Scott County Health Department can be found here.