Skip to main content

Trace Metals Unit - Blood Lead Testing

Information on Testing and Screening Children for Elevated Levels of Blood Lead

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that oversees the Medicaid program, requires blood lead screening for all Medicaid enrolled children at 12 and 24 months of age, and for any child 36-72 months of age who has no record of prior screening. Screening for elevated blood lead is necessary to confirm exposure because the symptoms of lead poisoning are often difficult or impossible to recognize.

Information for Provider on interpretation of result go to:

For general information about lead and lead hazard go to:

Principles Of The Test

The Trace Metals Unit performs blood lead analysis on three types of submitted specimens: filter paper, capillary and venous specimens.  These specimens are obtained via a finger stick or venipuncture and are analyzed using ICP-MS.   Once the specimens have been assessed and accessioned, they are treated with a diluent and placed on the ICP-MS.  Specimens are ionized by  automatically pumping them into the instrument nebulizer, which atomizes the solution into radio frequency plasma, where ionization takes place.  Next, a vacuum interface pulls the ions through a series of cones and a focusing lens, where the positively charged ions enter the quadrupole and are separated by their mass-to-charge ratio.  These ions are detected by an electron multiplier, quantified, and processed by the instrument's data handling system. 

Specimen Collection Instructions, Forms and Examples:

 Collection Procedures For Capillary, Venous, and Filter Paper Blood Lead Specimens

 Blood Lead Test Requisition Form with instructions- DHHS-0696 (editable form)

 Dried Blood Spot Collection Instructions - YouTube (Source: Greenwood Genetic Center)

Filter Paper Blood Spot Reference Card (see images below)

Inside of Filter Paper Blood Spot Card

Open back of filter paper blood spot card

Labeling of capillary specimen tubes (see images below)

Correct Labeling of capillary specimen tubes     Incorrect labeling of capillary specimen tubes

Order Supplies:

To order blood lead specimen collection kits (unit number 7), complete the Requisition for Clinical Specimen Containers (DHHS-0568)

Orders may be submitted by mail, fax (517-335-9039) or by phone (517-335-9040)

Contact Us:

Comments or questions regarding submitted speicmens, ETOR, or to request reprints of results contact the DASH Unit at 517-335-8059.
Matthew Bashore, Data and Specimen Handling Unit (DASH) Supervisor

Comments or questions regarding test results or testing methods contact the Trace Metals Unit
Keri Fisher, Analytical Chemistry Section Manager
Phone: 517-335-9489 


Matt Geiger, Chemistry and Toxicology Division Director
Phone: 517-335-8344

Related Information:

MDHHS BOL CAP Accreditation Certificate

Electronic Test Ordering Results Delivery (ETOR) Manual

Lead Hazard Remediation Program & Childhood Lead Poisoning Preventation 

Letter for Change in Guidelines Regarding Blood Lead Levels

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services

CDC's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program


Survey Tool- Provide feedback regarding our service