The Hemachemistry Unit performs blood lead testing for children residing in North Carolina. Samples are received from health departments, hospitals, physician offices and clinics.
Childhood lead poisoning is one of the most common environmentally-caused pediatric health problems in the United States today. The persistence of lead poisoning, in light of present knowledge about the sources, pathways and prevention of lead exposure, continues to present a direct challenge to clinicians and public health authorities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately a half million children in the United States ages 1-5 with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter (μg/dL), the reference value at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated. The newest methodology at the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health (N.C.SLPH) includes ICP/MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer). In addition, effective July 2012, a multi-tier approach to follow-up has been adopted with an overall goal of reducing children's blood lead levels below 5 μg/dL.