Test Detail
Interpreting Results

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Written by
Dr. Betina Chandolia
BDS, MDS - Oral Pathology and Microbiology
Reviewed by
Dr. Ashish Ranjan
MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)
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Lead, Blood

(Pb, Blood)
You need to provide
This test is for
Male, Female
Test Preparation
  1. No special preparation required


What is Pb, Blood?

Lead is a heavy metal commonly found in the environment. It is highly toxic for the human body and can cause severe conditions if ingested or inhaled. The Blood Lead Test measures the amount of lead in the blood to determine lead poisoning.

Why is Pb, Blood done?

The Blood Lead Test is performed:

·         To detect lead poisoning, especially in children

·         To monitor treatment for lead poisoning

What does Pb, Blood Measure?

Lead is a soft heavy metal which has a number of industrial applications because of its relatively unreactive and stable nature. It is a major component in paints, petroleum, batteries, bullets, weights, radiation shields, etc.

However, lead is highly toxic to the human body, even in small amounts. Use of lead has been discontinued in a number of applications like lead-based paints, leaded fuel, etc. Yet, significant amounts of lead are still present in our immediate environment, including the soil, food items, water, etc.

The primary ways by which lead enters the human body are through ingestion and inhalation. This is common in infants and young children who often put their hands in their mouths after playing outside in the soil. This can result in the accidental ingestion of lead. Lead exposure occurs in adults through occupational or recreational methods.

Lead is toxic even in very small amounts, causing irreversible damage to various organs of the body. In infants, lead exposure can cause permanent mental damage, causing behavioral abnormalities and impairment of mental growth without showing any other physical symptoms. Lead poisoning may occur due to ingestion or inhalation of a large amount of lead at one time or may develop slowly over a long period of time. The blood lead test is performed to measure the levels of lead in blood and to determine the extent of poisoning.

Interpreting Pb, Blood results


Acceptable range:

Children: Below 10 µg/dL

Adults: Below 25 µg/dL

Acceptable for industrial exposure: Below 50 µg/dL

Toxicity: 100 µg/dL and above

Lead is toxic even in trace amounts, thus there is no normal range for lead.

Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Pb, Blood

Frequently Asked Questions about Lead, Blood

Q. How is this test performed?
This test is performed on a blood sample. A syringe with a fine needle is used to withdraw blood from a blood vessel in your arm. The healthcare provider will tie an elastic band around your arm to make the blood vessels swell with blood. This makes it easier to withdraw blood. You may be asked to tightly clench your fist. Once the veins are clearly visible, the area is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and then the needle is inserted into the blood vessel to collect the sample. You will feel a tiny pinprick during the procedure. Blood sample once collected will then be sent to the laboratory.
Q. Is there any risk associated with this test?
There is no risk associated with the test. However, since this test involves a needle prick to withdraw the blood sample, in very rare cases, a patient may experience increased bleeding, hematoma formation (blood collection under the skin), bruising or infection at the site of needle prick.
Q. Is there any preparation required before the Blood Lead Test?
Inform the doctor about any medications you may be taking. No other preparations are required unless specified by your doctor.
Q. What other tests can be prescribed by your doctor in case the result of Blood Lead Test is not normal?
Other tests that may be prescribed upon appearance of abnormal result in the Blood Lead Test include: · Complete Blood Count Test · Reticulocyte Count Test · Serum Iron Test · Total Iron-Binding Capacity Test · Ferritin Test · Serum Electrolytes Test · Blood Urea Nitrogen Test · Creatinine Test · Blood Calcium Test · Magnesium Test · Liver Function Test · Urinalysis
Q. What are the symptoms of lead poisoning or toxic exposure to lead?
Symptoms of lead poisoning include: · Headache · Nausea and vomiting · Rapid weight loss · Fatigue · Weakness · Pain in stomach · Anemia due to low counts of red blood cell · Seizures · Hair loss · Behavioral changes and difficulty in remembering things (cognitive impairment), especially in children · Kidney dysfunction · Nervous system disorders · Loss of reproductive capabilities · Reduced mental development in children
Q. What occupations can expose you to lead?
Lead exposure is common in certain occupations, such as: · Lead smelting · Construction · Welding · Firing range · Foundry work · Recycling of scrap metal · Making stained glass · Ceramic pottery using lead glazing · Metal painting · Automobile repair and painting · Working as an electrician · Cable work
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