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Kaleida Health
115 Flint Road
Williamsville, NY 14221

  • (716) 626-7200

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Kaleida Health Laboratories Alert: Lead Testing Requirement Updates

Released: 10/24/2018

Lead Testing Requirement Updates

Capillary blood collection is sometimes used in lead screening programs, but because it is difficult to completely eliminate skin contamination by lead, the preferred standard procedure for determination of environmental exposure to lead remains venous blood. Because the toxicity of lead, especially in children, involves very low concentrations of the metal, laboratory measurement of blood lead requires careful collection and handling of blood. Standard collection tubes in use for other testing contain small but measurable amounts of lead and their use for measuring blood lead is discouraged. Certified lead free tubes have either a tan or royal blue stopper and should be used for collecting specimens for blood lead assay. Current regulations permit use of standard EDTA tubes (lavender stopper), but require a disclaimer, and require repeat collection for results which are near or above the cutoff value for the patient age.

Effective immediately the following guidelines should be followed for Blood Lead Testing:

  • Collect a Tan stopper tube (Lawson # 423981).
  • Provide the NYS required demographics with the specimen. For Kaleida patients, this information is included on the Eclipsys registration.***
  • Use an alcohol wipe to clean collection site. Using a circular motion, wipe the collection site eight (8) times. Repeat this process if vein needs to be rechecked.

***NY State requires laboratories to report ALL blood lead results to the state, along with certain demographics, including full name, address, date of birth, county of residence and race. Blood lead results cannot be reported until the demographics are attached. If complete demographics are not supplied with the specimen, significant delay in reporting will result.

Our laboratory will accept lavender top tubes, but we strongly discourage this practice for two reasons:

  • If lavender top tube is shared in the laboratory (for CBC, for example), an aliquot of blood must be removed for lead testing prior to any other testing. Shared samples may delay any other testing on that specimen.
  • If the lead result on a lavender tube is greater than 5, it is mandatory that a new specimen be collected from the patient to confirm the result. This results in significant delay in reporting a valid result.
  • Lavender Microtainer tubes can be used for pediatric collections only.

If you require any additional information, please contact Dr. Keith Krabill at 626-7200 or Don Oswald at 626-7958.