Blood Lead Testing
Lead is a poison that affects virtually every system in the body. It is particularly harmful to young children. Very severe lead exposure in children (blood lead >= 70 µg/dL ) can cause coma, convulsions, and even death. Lower levels can cause adverse effects on the central nervous system, kidney, and hematopoetic system. Blood lead levels as low as 5 µg/dL are associated with decreased intelligence and impaired neurobehavioral development. Other effects begin at these low blood lead levels, including decreased growth, decreased hearing acuity, and decreased ability to maintain a steady posture.
PRINCIPLES OF THE TEST: The laboratory determines the concentration of lead in human blood samples by using graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometry (GFAAS) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) manufactured by Perkin-Elmer.
In ICP-MS both whole blood and spotted capillary blood samples are analyzed. The samples are treated with a diluent then automatically pumped to the instrument nebulizer. This atomizes the solution into radio frequency plasma where ionization takes place. A vacuum interface pulls the ions through a series of cones and a focusing lens. At this point the positively charged ions enter the quadrupole where the ions are separated by their mass to charge ratio. The ions transmitted through the quadrupole are detected by an electron multiplier, and processed by the data handling system.
Mark Knottnerus, Manager
Related Information:Letter for Change in Guidelines Regarding Blood Lead Levels Survey Tool- Provide feedback regarding our service
Collection Procedures For Capillary Blood Lead Specimens
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