Two United States health agencies, the FDA and the CDC, warned that some of the currently used blood lead tests might return inaccurate results. News on the matter emerged earlier this week. According to the advisory, these devices might present a lower lead level than the actual blood values.
As a result, children younger than six as well as nursing or pregnant women tested with them may have to be reverified. Magellan Diagnostics produces the targeted lead poisoning tests. According to the health agencies, these should no longer be used in drawing blood samples from the patients’ veins.
Still, the Magellan blood lead tests for heel or finger pricks are considered accurate. These variants are generally used for testing children. Magellan is also the only producer of such tests.
Retaking the Blood Lead Tests
The health agencies advised nursing and pregnant women as well as recently tested families to talk to their doctors about retaking the test. Retesting candidates include those with a blood lead level of 10 micrograms or lower per deciliter. There is no standard safe lead level. However, the federal safety limit is set at half this value.
John Kraeutler, the CEO of Meridian Bioscience Inc, which bought Magellan last year, is reportedly not expecting that many retesting. Still, the company is working together with the FDA to try and determine the reason behind the incorrect results. Magellan will also look to switch labs that are using vein blood tests to ones to skin sticks variants.
Lead is considered especially dangerous for young children or expecting mothers. Its effects, even in small doses, include serious long-term health problems. Kids can unknowingly be exposed by ingesting lead-containing dust or paint chips. Adults could expose themselves to lead during work in auto repair shops, battery manufacturing, or during home renovations.
“Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. It produces no obvious symptoms and can go undetected for years,” said Patrick Breysee. He is the Director of the CDC National Center for Environmental Health.
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