How should the skin be cleaned prior to collecting capillary blood lead samples?
A venous blood lead test is recommended because capillary blood lead tests can be
falsely elevated due to contamination by lead from the skin surface. To minimize contamination by lead from the skin surface, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends following the steps below for a capillary blood lead test.


1. Select examination gloves. Use non-powdered gloves because some forms of talc used to powder gloves may have lead contamination.
2. Wash the child’s hands thoroughly with soap and water, and then dry them with a clean, low-lint towel. Plain, unprinted, non-recycled towels are best.
3. Grasp the finger that has been selected for puncture between your thumb and index finger with the palm of the child’s hand facing up.
4. If not done during washing, massage the fleshy portion of the finger gently.
5. Clean the ball or pad of the finger to be punctured with an alcohol swab. Dry the fingertip using sterile gauze or a cotton ball.

Show All Answers

1. How should the skin be cleaned prior to collecting capillary blood lead samples?
2. What type of sample, venous or capillary, is necessary to confirm an elevated blood lead level?
3. Which children in colorado should be tested for lead?
4. How do I report an elevated blood lead level (EBLL) to Tri-County Health Department?
5. How frequently should children with EBLLs be tested?
6. Does Tri-County have a standard Lead Exposure Risk Assessment Questionnaire to use to evaluate if a child is at risk of having an elevated blood lead level?
7. What services does Tri-County provide for children with EBLLs?