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Venous Blood Lead Test May Have Generated Faulty Results

June 20, 2017, 3:09 PM HST
* Updated June 20, 3:11 PM
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The Hawai‘i State Department of Health recommends that parents with children younger than 6 years old who had a venous blood lead test drawn before May 17, 2017, consult with their healthcare provider to determine whether their child should be retested.

This advisory does not apply if the child was tested with a finger or heel stick.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers who had a venous blood lead test before May 17, 2017, should also consult a healthcare provider about retesting.

In May, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning about Magellan Diagnostics’ LeadCare® analyzers used by some Hawai‘i laboratories.

Magellan lead tests on blood drawn from a vein may provide falsely low results. The warning does not apply to capillary blood test results collected by finger stick or heel stick.

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When the warning was issued, the DOH contacted local independent testing laboratories using Magellan Diagnostics’ LeadCare® analyzers. The DOH also contacted the chief medical officers of all healthcare facilities statewide.

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Working closely with laboratories throughout the state, and as more information became available, it was determined that a substantial number of children’s test results in Hawa‘ii may have been affected. At this time, the exact number of inaccurate blood lead test results received within the state is not known.

“It’s very important to identify children who may have been exposed to lead” said DOH Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “The faulty test underestimates low blood lead levels and even low levels of lead exposure may cause adverse health effects, such as learning and behavior problems in young children. If your child was tested for lead with blood drawn from a vein from 2014 to May 17, 2017, please contact your healthcare provider to discuss the need for retesting.”

For further questions on lead exposure contact the Hawai‘i Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

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Information on the national safety alert is available online.

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