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The Lead Clinic at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, located in the General Pediatric Clinic General Pediatrics Department, provides diagnosis and treatment for children who have lead poisoning. Led by Kanta J. Bhambhani, M.D. director of the Lead Clinic, the center includes a clinical nurse coordinator and social worker. Patients may also be referred to Neuropsychology and Toxicology for further evaluation. Initial lead testing is conducted in the General Pediatric Clinic or through the patient’s primary care physician.

Diagnosis and treatment for lead poisoning

If lead poisoning is suspected, a lead blood test can be initiated by a patient’s primary care physician. If lead poisoning is confirmed, the child may be treated in the lead clinic where a hemogram (complete blood count) may be performed and other tests are obtained. Depending on the lead levels, follow up testing may be initiated to monitor the lead levels in the blood. Nutritional support and environmental methods to remove the source of the lead in the home is put in place. Children who have extremely high levels of lead may be admitted for oral and intravenous or intramuscular chelation therapy.

A number of federal and state funds are available to remove lead from homes for low-income families. A patient’s primary care physician can initiate a home assessment through the lead department of your county health department.

Testing guidelines for lead exposure

Since symptoms from lead poisoning usually don’t appear until dangerous amounts have accumulated in the blood, children should be tested at one and two years of age or if it is believed the child has been exposed to a lead hazard. The State of Michigan considers all children in the City of Detroit to be at-risk. Medicaid requires children be tested at 1 and 2 years of age. Children not tested at that time must be tested at least once between the ages of 3 and 6 years. All other children should be screened using the screening questions below according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Resources.

Answer these questions to see if your child should be tested for lead:

  • Does the child now or in the recent past live in or often visit a house built before 1950 with peeling or chipping paint? This could include a day care, preschool, or home of a relative.
  • Does the child now or in the recent past live in or often visit a house built before 1978 that has been remodeled within the last year?
  • Does the child have a brother or sister (or playmate) with lead poisoning?
  • Does the child live with an adult whose job or hobby involves lead?
  • Does the child's family use any home remedies that may contain lead?

If you answered no to every question, this means your child may be at LOW RISK for lead poisoning.

If you answered yes or don't know how to answer any of these questions, this means your child may be at HIGH RISK for lead poisoning. The only way to know for sure is to have your child tested. Talk to your child's doctor to arrange for a blood test. Show the doctor this questionnaire so he or she knows why your child is at risk.

For further information on the Lead Clinic at Children’s Hospital of Michigan or to schedule an appointment call (800) 745-KIDS

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