Lead Poisoning Prevention
Blood Lead Surveillance System

The lead program's surveillance activities protect the health of the public and promote awareness of lead issues by:

  • monitoring lead testing activities and tracking the occurrence of elevated blood lead cases in the state
  • maintaining a high-quality database of information that can be used to effectively manage the risks associated with lead exposure
  • providing the basis for strategies designed to reduce the occurrence of lead-related disease, conducted collaboratively with local, state and federal partners.

Lead poisoning is considered one of the most common, yet preventable pediatric health problems in the United States. In Minnesota, healthcare providers test for lead poisoning in children and adults by drawing blood and submitting the specimen to a laboratory for analysis. Laboratories conducting the blood lead analysis are required by state statute to report the lead level [expressed in micrograms per deciliter (ug/dL) of blood], and additional demographic information to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Blood Lead Surveillance System (BLSS). The reported data are private and used by state and local public health officials for identifying children and pregnant women with elevated blood lead levels . Once identified, public health staff educate families on the hazards of lead in their home environment, and work to help lower their blood lead levels. Analysis of the blood lead data on an aggregate level is used for identification of areas throughout the state where children may be at higher risk for lead poisoning and the development of state screening guidelines.

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Updated Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 08:08AM