By Rossany Auceda, Iowa Department of Public Health
If your child will start kindergarten in fall, have them tested for lead before school starts, and mark check on this requirement!
The state of Iowa requires that all children entering kindergarten have at least one blood lead test before they are six years old. The only way to know if your child is lead poisoned is to have a blood lead test. Most children with lead poisoning do not look sick. Others may show signs of getting easily excited, have difficulties paying attention, present stomachaches and headaches and are more tired than usual.
Lead poisoning is a serious problem in Iowa. Lead-based paint is commonly found in homes built before 1978 and is the leading source of lead poisoning in children. Usually the lead based paint or dust falls into the ground, children get them in their fingers, put them in their mouths, and poison themselves.
Call your child’s medical provider and tell them that the state of Iowa requires that children entering kindergarten have at least one blood lead test before the age of six. They may be able to provide you with a copy of a previous test result. If there is no record of a previous test in your child’s medical record, schedule a visit. Medical providers may ask you to go to a local laboratory for a blood test.
Many insurance plans, including Medicaid and Hawki, pay for the lead test. If you do not have insurance, contact your local health department or call IDPH at (800) 972-2026.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that no level of lead is safe in a child and that it is best to prevent lead poisoning before it occurs. Lead poisoning causes learning disabilities, which lead to poor performance in school.
For more information about the testing requirement, contact the Iowa Department of Public Health at or (515) 281-3225 or 800-972-2026 or visit us online here.