Lead and health

pediatrician with child



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?  Take this quick, interactive quiz to find out.

You also may want to test your home.

More information

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



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

Case management

Colorado follows CDC guidance on case management for lead.


Under the state’s reporting law, all providers and laboratories performing blood lead tests are required to report test results to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Over age 18: Report elevated tests.

  • Report blood lead levels equal to or greater than 3.5 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 3.5 μg/dL within 7 days of the result.
  • Report blood lead levels less than 3.5 μg/dL within 30 days of the result.

How to report lead test results

For providers using LeadCare II machinesFor providers without LeadCare II machinesFor laboratories
  • Make sure you are set up for Electronic Lab Reporting by contacting Contact CDPHE's Electronic Laboratory Reporting Coordinator to ensure you are set up for Electronic Lab Reporting.  Andrew.Horvath@state.co.us or 303-692-2025




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

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. 




For questions about lead poisoning: ToxCall, (303) 692-2606  or  cdphe_toxcall@state.co.us

For lead testing and reporting questions: cdphe_leadreports@state.co.us