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Lead Poisoning / Trace Elements Laboratory

Wadsworth Center at the Empire State Plaza

The Lead Poisoning/Trace Elements Laboratory specializes in the analysis of clinical specimens (blood, serum, urine, etc.) for trace/toxic elements using analytical atomic spectrometry. The laboratory provides routine analytical services for blood lead (BPb) and erythrocyte protoporphyrin (EP) in support of public health programs for the prevention of lead poisoning, and is responsible for administering the New York State Department of Health's Proficiency Testing (PT) Program for BPb and EP. As part of our activities to improve the quality of laboratory testing for trace elements, we prepare and certify a limited number of lyophilized reference materials for blood lead, urine lead and erythrocyte protoporphyrin. We also have an active research program in the area of trace element analysis of biological tissues and fluids, and currently collaborate with research groups at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, and Cornell University's Veterinary Medical Center. We are located at the Wadsworth Center's Empire State Plaza campus in downtown Albany.


Lead poisoning has been described as the number one environmental disease affecting children in the U.S. In 1991, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lowered the concentration of lead in blood considered harmful to children from 25 µg/dL to 10 µg/dL (1.21 to 0.48 µmol/L). In 1992, New York State enacted legislation that required all children to be screened at least once before entering school. Blood lead is the primary diagnostic and screening test for assessing lead exposure. Erythrocyte protoporphyrin (EP) is a related test that is useful for assessing the long-term effects of high levels of lead exposure, and is useful for monitoring patients receiving chelation therapy. The NYS blood lead PT program is approved by HCFA for CLIA '88 certification purposes, by OSHA for laboratories involved in occupational PB monitoring, and by the state of California for their laboratory certification program.

The blood lead and EP PT programs derive their strength and technical credibility from our close relationship to the routine patient testing program for blood lead and EP. The relationship is synergistic in that both programs derive a substantial benefit from the other. The experience and analytical skills gained from the routine lead testing program is immensely valuable in advising permit laboratories that are having analytical problems. For the routine program, the benefit of having PT responsibility means that quality control standards are always a priority. The laboratory as a whole provides national and international leadership in this field.

Peeling lead paint
Peeling lead paint
Lead decorated pottery
Lead decorated pottery
Websites Related To Lead Poisoning