Section I: Trends in Childhood Blood Lead Screening

Under New York State (NYS) Public Health Law and regulations, health care providers in NYS are required to test all children for lead at or around age one year and again at or around age two years.1 Health care providers are also required to assess all children ages six months to 72 months at least once annually for lead exposure, with blood lead testing for all children found to be at risk based on those assessments.

Young children are at highest risk for lead exposure. The majority of children with elevated blood lead levels have no noticeable symptoms of lead poisoning. The purpose of blood lead testing is to identify children with elevated blood lead levels and, once identified, coordinate needed interventions to reduce sources of lead in children's environments and prevent further exposure. Information obtained from blood lead tests is also used to identify high-risk communities and populations and to target public health actions to improve lead testing and prevent lead poisoning.

Lead testing rates for a group of children born in a given year are based on blood lead testing data from subsequent years. For example, testing rates at ages one and two for children born in 2004 are based on blood lead tests that occurred from 2004 through 2007.

Table of Contents


  1. For surveillance purposes, at or around age one is defined as 9 months to < 18 months and at or around age two is defined as 18 months to < 36 months. These one and two year age categories were designated based on an analysis that assessed the ages at which children's lead tests occur.