Lead - blood

Last updated: Thursday, 22, April, 2004

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Item Process
Specimen

5 mL blood in EDTA or lithium heparin tube. Consult laboratory.

Method

Atomic absorption spectrophotometry.

Reference Interval

Female: 0.35 µmol/L

Male: <0.5 µmol/L

Application

Lead poisoning, population screening and occupational lead exposure.

Interpretation

Levels >0.5 µmol/L indicate increased exposure to lead and may be associated with intellectual impairment in children.

Levels >2 µmol/L are likely in patients with symptoms of acute lead toxicity.

Occupational exposure is usually regulated (check with local authorities).

Blood lead may be the only abnormal parameter in acute organic lead poisoning (eg, petrol sniffing).

Reference

Lockitch G. Clin Biochem 1993; 26: 371-381.

Hu H. Prim Care 2000; 27(4): 983-996.