This test measures the amount of lead in the blood. Lead is a poisonous (toxic) metal that can damage the brain and other parts of the body. A lead blood test may be done on blood drawn from the vein, a finger (finger stick), or the heel (heel stick).
A person can be exposed to lead:
- By eating or drinking lead-contaminated foods, water, or other material (such as paint chips).
- By breathing dust or smoke containing lead.
- Through skin contact with lead.
There is no safe age to be exposed to lead. Adults can have problems from lead poisoning, but it is most harmful to children younger than age 6 (especially those younger than age 3) because it can permanently affect their growth and development. A pregnant woman who is exposed to lead can pass it to her baby (fetus). Lead can also be passed to a baby through the mother's breast milk.
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