Childhood Lead Poisoning - Provider Information

Updated November 4, 2019

providersNew blood lead testing requirements.

Effective June 27, 2019, Maine law requires blood lead tests for all children at 1 and 2 years of age.

  • Get a copy of the new testing guidelines. (PDF)
  • Watch a recorded webinar on Maine's universal blood lead testing mandate. (YouTube) External site disclaimer.
  • Download the slides from the webinar presentation. (PDF)
  • Read an update about the law change and current testing rates. (PDF)
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    On this page:

    Blood Lead Testing Requirements for Children Ages 1 and 2 Years (Effective June 2019)

    As of June 27, 2019, Maine law requires blood lead tests for all children at 1 and 2 years of age. See below for recommended confirmation and follow-up testing schedule if blood lead level is 5 ug/dL or higher.

    Age Children Covered by MaineCare Children Not Covered by MaineCare

    1 year (9 to <18 months)

    Blood lead test mandatory under Maine and federal law

    Blood lead test mandatory under Maine law

    2 years (18 to <36 months)

    Blood lead test mandatory under Maine and federal law

    Blood lead test mandatory under Maine law

     

    Capillary Lead Test Confirmation Schedule (Effective March 2015)

    Effective March 2015, for children less than 6 years old, providers should confirm all capillary blood lead levels 5 ug/dL or higher with venous samples, according to the following schedule. The higher the capillary test result, the more urgent the need for a confirmatory venous test. A venous test must be done prior to initiation of Maine CDC services.

    Capillary Blood Lead Level Confirm with Venous Test Within

    5 - <10 ug/dL

    3 months

    10 - <45 ug/dL

    1 month

    45 - <60 ug/dL

    48 hours

    60 - <70 ug/dL

    24 hours

    70+ ug/dL

    Immediately as an emergency test

    Get a printable copy of recommended capillary lead test confirmation schedule. (PDF)

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    Venous Lead Test Follow-up Schedule (Effective September 2016)

    Effective September 2016, the Maine CDC provides a full lead investigation of a child's home environment when a venous blood lead test result is 5 ug/dL or higher. For all venous blood lead levels 5 ug/dL or higher, conduct follow-up venous blood lead tests, according to the following schedule. The Maine CDC initiates a response on venous results of 5 ug/dL and above.

    Venous Blood Lead Level Follow-up Venous Test Schedule Long-Term Follow-Up* Maine CDC Response

    5 - <10 ug/dL

    3 months

    When <5 resume testing schedule

    • Environmental investigation
    • Case management by phone

    10 - <15 ug/dL

    Within 3 months

    6-9 months

    For children with blood lead levels 10 ug/dL or higher:

    • Environmental investigation
    • Case management by phone
    • Offer home visit from public health nurse

     

    15 - <20 ug/dL

    Within 2 months

    3-6 months

    20 - <45 ug/dL

    Within 1 month

    1-3 months

    45+ ug/dL

    Repeat venous blood test immediately

    Chelation therapy as indicated

    Consider consult with New England Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit: 617-355-8177 Or Northern New England Poison Center: 1-800-222-1222

    Based on chelation protocol

    *Long-term follow-up should only begin after blood lead is declining and child is living in a lead-safe environment.

    For additional guidance on the management of children with lead poisoning see the American Academy of Pediatrics website External site disclaimer.

    For additional guidance on the management of children at risk of lead exposure, see the 2012 Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention statement: Low Level Lead Exposure Harms Children: A Renewed Call for Primary Prevention External site disclaimer.

    Get a printable copy of recommended venous lead test follow-up schedule. (PDF)

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    Additional Testing Recommendations

    Recommended Blood Lead Testing Schedule for Children Ages 3 to 5 Years

    Age Children Covered by MaineCare Children Not Covered by MaineCare

    3-5 years (36-72 months)

    1. If not previously tested: Mandatory blood lead test

    2. If previously tested: Recommend blood lead test yearly unless annual risk assessment questionnaire is negative.

    Recommend blood lead test yearly unless annual risk assessment questionnaire is negative.

    Recommended Testing for At-Risk Groups

    In addition to testing children at ages 1 and 2 years, consider a blood lead test for children in the following at-risk groups:

    • Recent immigrants or international adoptees
    • Children whose parents immigrated to the U.S.

    Consider a blood lead test, regardless of age, if children have any of the following conditions:

    • Unusual oral behavior, pica, developmental delays, behavioral problems, ADHD
    • Unexplained illness: severe anemia, lethargy, abdominal pain
    • Ingestion of paint chip or object that might contain lead

    Recommended Testing Schedule for Recently Arrived Refugee Children

    • Perform a blood lead test for children 6 months to 16 years upon entry to the U.S.
    • Within 3-6 months of initial test, conduct follow-up test for children 6 months to 6 years, regardless of initial test result.
    • Consult U.S. CDC screening guidelines for immigrant/refugee children External site disclaimer

    Get a printable copy of blood lead testing guidelines. (PDF)

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    Risk Assessment Questionnaire for Children Ages 36-72 Months (Updated March 2015)

    1. Does your child spend more than 10 hours per week, in any house built before talk to doctor1950?
    2. Does your child spend more than 10 hours per week in any house built before 1978 that was renovated or remodeled within the last 6 months?
    3. Does your child spend time with an adult whose job exposes him/her to lead? (Examples: construction, painting, metalwork)
    4. Does your child have a sibling or playmate that has been diagnosed with lead poisoning?

    If a child’s parent answered “yes,” or "does not know," to one or more of these questions, the child should be given a blood lead test.

    Get a printable copy of blood lead testing guidelines, including the risk assessment questionnaire. (PDF)

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    Free Home Lead Dust Testing for Patients

    Dust from deteriorating, damaged, or exposed lead paint in older homes is the most common source of pediatric lead poisoning. Providers and families may request a free, do-it-yourself lead dust test kit before a child becomes poisoned. Call to order: 207-287-4311, TTY 711; or order online.

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    Blood Lead Testing Options

    Providers now have two options for blood lead testing: 1) Continue to submit blood lead samples to the State Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory; 2) Perform capillary blood lead analysis using a CLIA waived in-office blood lead testing device and directly report all test results to the Maine CDC Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Unit (MCLPPU). Providers must have approval from the MCLPPU before they can begin in-office testing.

    • For providers sending blood lead samples to the State Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory:
      • Collect either a capillary or venous specimen. To prevent false positive capillary samples, wash and scrub the finger or toe that you will be testing with soap. Use a surgical brush or soft toothbrush.
      • For free blood collection supplies and mailers, providers may call the State of Maine Health and Environmental Testing Lab (HETL) at 207-287-2727.
    • For providers interested in beginning in-office testing, get complete information about the approval and application process and data reporting requirements.

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    Billing Information for Blood Lead Tests

    For questions about billing:

    • Call your MaineCare provider relations specialist at 866-690-5585, TTY 711.
    • Call the Maine Health and Environmental Testing Lab (HETL) at 207-287-2727.  

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    Additional Information

    Document/Resource Source Size Type
    Webinar Recording on Universal Blood Lead Testing Mandate (YouTube)External site disclaimer Maine Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Unit N/A Web
    PowerPoint Slides from Universal Blood Lead Testing Mandate Recorded Webinar Maine Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Unit 2,757 KB PDF
    Pediatric Blood Lead Testing Guidelines and Recommended Confirmation and Follow-up Schedule for Pediatric Blood Lead Levels 5 ug/dL or Higher (October 2019) Maine Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Unit 250 KB PDF
    Notification to Providers on the New Blood Lead Testing Requirements (September 2019) Maine Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Unit 280 KB PDF
    Notification to Providers of Changes to Pediatric Blood Lead Testing Recommendations (March 2015) Maine Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Unit 296 KB PDF
    Clinical Lab Requisition Form Maine Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory 164 KB PDF

    Call the lead program or see our resources page for DVD's and print materials on preventing lead poisoning for your patients.

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    Publications

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    About the Maine Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Unit

    The Maine Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Unit:

    • Monitors approximately 15,000 blood lead tests each year.
    • Identifies children with elevated blood lead levels.
    • Provides services to families based on the child's blood lead level.
    • Conducts lead environmental testing of residences for children with venous blood leads 5 ug/dL and greater.
    • Works with families, their physicians, visiting nurses, and lead inspectors to make sure blood lead levels return to normal.
    • Provides education to professionals, parents, and the public on lead poisoning.
    • Gathers ongoing epidemiological surveillance to determine what lead poisoning looks like in Maine. You can view this data by visiting the Maine Environmental Public Health Tracking Portal.

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