Talking to your health care provider about lead testing

Provider smiling at infant patient that is sitting in parent's lap

Learn about lead, protect your health! 

Lead occurs throughout our environment, but it 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. 

The only way to know if you have too much lead in your body is to get a blood lead test. Discuss your concerns about lead with a health care provider, and ask about a lead test. This is especially important for children under age 3 and pregnant people.


Health impacts

Lead exposure in children can cause:

  • Premature birth.
  • Developmental and growth delays.
  • Behavior or learning difficulties.

Lead exposure in adults can cause:

  • Infertility.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Abdominal, joint and muscle pain.
  • Mood disorders and/or memory loss.

What to discuss with a health care provider

Lead is a metal found in all parts of the environment, including the air, soil, and water. Lead also comes from human activities such as burning coal, mining, and manufacturing. Lead has been used in gasoline, batteries, ammunition, and cosmetics.

  • Signs and symptoms.
  • Where you live.
    • People who live near lead smelters, battery recycling plants, airports, mining sites, or other industrial areas may have a greater risk of lead exposure.
  • The year your home was built.
    • Homes built before 1978 may have lead-based paints.
    • Homes built before 1986 may have lead in the plumbing.
  • Your job and hobbies.
    • Those that use lead may put you and your family at higher risk.
  • Traditional medicines, home remedies and imported foods you use.
    • Some of these may contain lead.
  • Whether your child is eligible for or enrolled in Medicaid, Child Health Plan Plus or the Colorado Indigent Care Program.
    • These children are required to be tested at ages 12 and 24 months. 
  • Whether your child has a sibling or playmate who has been treated for lead poisoning.


If a lead test shows there is too much lead in the body, your provider can discuss next steps.

Most treatment focuses on removing the source of lead from the person's environment and retesting to ensure the blood lead levels are dropping. 



For information about lead and your health, contact ToxCall at 303-692-2606 or cdphe_toxcall@state.co.us.  

To request this web page information in a fact sheet, email cdphe_leadreports@state.co.us.