Lead Poisoned Children and the Effects on their Education

Lead poisoned children are at a higher risk of cognitive and/or speech delays and attention deficits and reduced IQ’s. Early intervention is critical to their success. Additional educational implications may not manifest until school age, particularly at the 1st, 4th and 6th grade levels where specific education milestones are generally achieved.

  • First grade, when children are expected to begin acquiring basic academic skills such as reading words or performing arithmetic operations.
  • Fourth grades, where the emphasis shifts from basic skills actuation to skill utilization to learn new material (“reading to learn” as opposed to “learning to read”).
  • Sixth or seventh grade, when students are expected to use higher-order planning and organizational skills to complete long-term projects.

How the lead testing process works in schools:

Testing requirements are that we have a room designated for the testing that is not used for the preparation or consumption of food that would easily accommodate two banquet sized tables and four chairs minimum. We begin testing around 9:30 a.m. We can test up to 100 children in one day. If there are greater than 100 children we may need to have additional testing days.

Phlebotomist’s are trained in phlebotomy, blood borne pathogens and have many years of experience. The procedure is a simple finger stick (capillary draw) from which we collect a microtainer sample of blood. All blood borne pathogen guidelines are followed. Samples will be submitted to the Marion County Public Health Department lab for analysis and parents/guardians will be notified of the results in approximately 2-3 weeks from the test date. Any children with levels in the reference range (currently 5 ug/dL and above) will have their parent/guardian contacted to arrange for a confirmatory test (venous/sample taken from the vein in the arm).

If a child is a confirmed to have a lead level in the reference range, they will be entered into case management with the MCPHD; which includes home inspection and a home home visit to identify possible sources of lead in the child’s environment.


Target Geographic Locations at Risk for Lead Hazard:



CDC Lead Education and Intervention Resources 

Lead Poisoning – Know the Facts (English)