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Alameda County, CA,

Larry Brooks
Healthy Homes Department
Including the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

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Health Services Available

Health Services Available

Alameda County Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (ACLPPP) is a program in the Alameda County Healthy Homes Department (ACHHD). ACLPPP provides services to the community to increase awareness regarding the hazards of lead exposure, reduce lead exposure, and increase the number of children assessed and appropriately blood tested for lead poisoning.

ACHHD receives funds from the California Department of Public Health Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch (DPH CLPPB) to support comprehensive health program services. Core functions include direct case management services to lead-poisoned children and their families, advocacy for blood lead screening via collaboration with other public health programs, and marketing and consultations to the medical provider community and Medi-Cal Managed Care Organizations.

ACLPPP with ACHHD collaborates with Alameda County families to provide comprehensive case management, outreach, and education that focus on lead poisoning prevention. Our health services also include providing current evidence-based literature, completing referrals and linkage to community-based programs and partners, and completing follow-up with providers, clinics, and other health organizations involved in the child's monitoring and treatment.

To report an elevated blood lead level call 510-567-8280 or complete this Referral Form and fax it to (510) 567-8272.

Public Health Nurses

  • Conduct home visits to children with very high blood lead levels.
  • Complete a child/family assessment (physical, psychosocial, and environmental).
  • Identify and test for possible non-housing lead sources such as spices and home remedies.
  • Provide nutritional assessments to families.
  • Provide health education, monitor lead levels, and encourage medical follow-up.

Community Outreach Workers

  • Provide information to families of children with moderately elevated blood lead levels regarding possible lead sources, nutrition, and blood lead testing recommendations.
  • Provide nutritional assessments to families.
  • Provide health education through presentations and health fairs to the public, medical providers, and community-based organizations.
  • Work with families and health care providers.

Environmental Health Professionals (REHS/EP)

  • Conduct environmental home inspections to children with very high blood lead levels.
  • Identify and test for possible Housing/Environmental lead sources such as paint, soil, and dust.
  • Provide recommendations to reduce contact with lead.
  • Follow up to see that sources of lead are corrected.

Advocacy for Blood Lead Screenings

A blood lead test is the best way to determine if a child has lead poisoning. A child with lead poisoning may not have visible signs or symptoms. Many children who have lead poisoning look and act healthy. Parents can talk to their child's healthcare provider about getting a blood lead test if their child may have been exposed to lead. Blood lead level (BLL) is measured in micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (μg/dL). Recommendations are provided for initial screening capillary and confirmed venous BLLs.

What is a blood lead test?

It means testing an asymptomatic child for lead poisoning by analyzing the child's blood for a lead concentration. A blood lead test shows how much lead is in a child's blood. The amount of lead in blood is the blood lead level, measured in micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (μg/dL). All children at risk for lead exposure should be tested for lead poisoning. Some children are more likely to be exposed to lead than others. These include children who:

  • Live or spend time in a house or building built before 1978
  • Are from low-income households
  • Are immigrants, refugees, or recently adopted from less developed countries
  • Live or spend time with someone who works with lead or has hobbies that expose them to lead

How to obtain a blood lead screening?

Talk to your pediatrician, general physician, or local health agency to test your child's blood for Lead Poisoning. A healthcare provider will test a child's blood for lead. A small amount of blood is taken from the finger, heel, or arm and tested for lead during a blood lead test. Two types of blood collection tests may be used:

  • A finger-prick or heel-prick (capillary) sample is usually the first step to determine if a child has lead in their blood. While finger-prick tests can provide fast results, they also can produce falsely elevated results if the lead on the skin is captured in the sample.
  • A venous blood draw takes blood from the child's vein. Blood collected from the vein is less likely to be contaminated with lead during collection. However, venous blood cannot currently be tested for lead at the point of care. Because of this, it may take a few days to receive results from the laboratory. A healthcare provider may order a venous blood draw to confirm the blood lead level seen in a test.

How to advocate with your provider to obtain a blood lead screening?

Parents should talk to their child's healthcare provider about whether their child needs to be tested for lead. The child's healthcare provider may ask questions to see if the child is at risk for lead poisoning. The best way to know if a child has been exposed to lead is to have their blood tested.

Healthcare providers and most local health departments can test for lead in the blood. Many private insurance policies cover the cost of testing for lead in the blood. The cost of blood lead testing for children enrolled in Medicaid is covered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The CDPH links below provide understanding for regulatory requirements and anticipatory guidance for California BLL screening requirements.

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