Lead is a type of metal that is found naturally on Earth. Lead is in all parts of our environment -- the air, the soil, and our homes.
While it has some beneficial uses, lead is toxic to humans. It can get into our bodies when we breathe in or swallow something that has lead in it or on it.
Lead can affect almost every organ and system, but the main concern is the nervous system. Children under age 3 and pregnant people are at the highest risk of health impacts from lead.
The good news? Lead poisoning is preventable.
Lead exposure is hard to detect. Signs and symptoms don't appear until dangerous amounts have accumulated in the body.
Some children need a simple blood test to find out if they have too much lead in their bodies. Does your child need to be tested? Fill out this checklist to find out.
You also may want to test your home.
- Learning about lead and your health | En Español | 中国人 | Tiếng Việt | नेपाली | Soomaali | عربي
- Learning about lead in drinking water| En Español
- Lead in soil| En Español | 中国人 | Tiếng Việt | नेपाली | Soomaali | عربي
- Lead in Harvested Wild Game Fact Sheet | En Español | 中国人 | Tiếng Việt | नेपाली | Soomaali | عربي
- Lead in Indoor Shooting and Firing Ranges | En Español | 中国人 | Tiếng Việt | नेपाली | Soomaali | عربي
- Working With and Around Lead | En Español | 中国人 | Tiếng Việt | नेपाली | Soomaali | عربي
- CDPHE: Adult Lead Exposure and Health Effects Overview
- NIOSH: Lead information for workers
- OSHA: Preventing Lead Exposure in Firing Ranges
We rely on local public health agencies to ensure children with confirmed elevated blood lead levels are linked to appropriate follow-up services. We encourage local public health agencies to educate their communities about the risk of lead poisoning and promote blood lead screenings in high-risk areas.
Need to know
Blood lead levels and case management
Identifying focus areas
- Targeted Lead Outreach Tool | En Español | 中国人 | Tiếng Việt | नेपाली | Soomaali | عربي
Use this tool to identify target areas to increase blood lead testing for children under 6 years old.
Lead Investigation Guide for Local Public Health Agencies
Includes reimbursement instructions
- Lead exposure history
Use this questionnaire when conducting environmental investigations in your area
- Exposure investigation report form
Use this form when reporting your environmental lead results to CDPHE
Lead testing and case management for children 18 and under
Colorado recommends targeted blood lead testing based on responses to a risk-based questionnaire. If the questionnaire indicates a high risk for lead poisoning, children should be tested at 12 months and 24 months of age, using either a capillary or venous blood specimen.
Need to know
Testing resources for health care providers
- Lead testing recommendations and questionnaire
- Risk questionnaire for parents | En Español | 中国人 | Tiếng Việt | नेपाली | Soomaali | عربي
Colorado follows CDC guidance on case management for lead.
- CDC: Guidelines for childhood blood lead case management
- CDPHE: Preventing and treating lead poisoning in children
Over age 18: Report elevated tests.
- Report blood lead levels equal to or greater than 5 micrograms per deciliter (ug/dL) within 30 days of the result.
18 and under: Report all tests.
- Report blood lead levels equal to or greater than 5μg/dL within 7 days of the result.
- Report blood lead levels less than 5 μg/dL within 30 days of the result.
How to report lead test results
|For providers using LeadCare II machines||For providers without LeadCare II machines||For laboratories|
The state collects and analyzes data on elevated blood lead levels in children 18 and under in order to:
- Trigger follow-up investigation, care, and treatment to reduce lead poisoning.
- Track temporal and spatial trends in the incidence and prevalence of childhood lead poisoning.
The state collects and analyzes data on elevated blood lead levels in children ages 16 and over and adults in order to:
- Determine the number of workers in Colorado who may be lead poisoned, what industries they work in, where they live and work, and whether they are potentially exposing their families to lead.
- Track trends in the incidence and prevalence of occupational lead poisoning, share information with the public, health care providers, public health professionals and labor and industry stakeholders.
- Identify and follow up on elevated blood lead reports to reduce lead poisoning in workers.
Lead poisoning data
- Colorado Environmental Public Health Tracking: Childhood lead poisoning data
- CDC: National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network
- CDC: Childhood Lead Poisoning Data, Statistics, and Surveillance
- CDC: Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES) data
- CDPHE: Work-Related Exposures Reported to a Poison Center, 2000-2010.
The Colorado Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is working on lead exposure at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Our program focuses on two priority areas related to lead testing:
- Identifying children who are at risk for lead poisoning and ensuring those children are tested.
- Responding to elevated blood test results to ensure children are receiving appropriate follow-up care.
Much of our work involves getting accurate and timely information to parents, local public health agencies, and providers. Additionally, our program actively participates in the Colorado Lead Coalition which addresses lead poisoning-related issues in Colorado.