LabNotes - Volume 14, No.2, 2004

Best Practice: Lead Testing

Q: Which blood collection tubes can be used for lead testing, particularly on pediatric patients?

A: BD offers two different types of tubes for lead testing. Both have been FDA cleared for use in lead determinations and are certified to be of low lead content (thereby minimizing the risk of false positive lead results).

  • BD Microtainer® K2EDTA Tube with BD Microgard™ Closure (Ref #365974)
    Color photo of a BD Microtainer(R) K2EDTA Tube with BD Microgard(TM) Closure
    This tube is used for capillary collections from skin punctures such as heelsticks on infants or fingersticks on small children. It holds between 250 and 500 μl of blood. The amount of lead in this tube is certified to be less than one nanogram.

    The following BD white papers offer supporting clinical documentation for this tube:

    • VS5343-BD Microtainer® K2EDTA Tubes Catalog #365974: Evaluation of Lead Using Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry (GFAAS).
    • VS5344-BD Microtainer® K2EDTA Tubes Catalog #365974: Evaluation of Lead Using Anodic Stripping Voltometry (ASV).

    Both of these studies show that the BD Microtainer® K2EDTA Tube, Ref. #365974 is an acceptable capillary blood collection device that ensures accurate and precise results for lead analysis by both GFAAS and ASV methods.

    The original style of BD Microtainer® Tube with K2EDTA (Ref #365973) is not certified to be low lead.

  • BD Vacutainer® K2EDTA Plus Plastic Tube (Ref # 367855)
    Color photo of a BD Vacutainerr(R) K2EDTA Plus Plastic Tube
    This tube draws 3mL of venous blood and is ideal for pediatric venipunctures. It is also certified for low lead content, with a background lead amount of 2.5ppb (parts per billion) or 0.25μg/dL. The concentration of EDTA in the tube is 1.8 mg/mL of blood, which is consistent with all other BD Vacutainer® EDTA Tubes.

    To obtain copies of BD white papers, contact our Technical Services Department.

    The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the principal sources of lead exposure for children in the United States are house dust contaminated by leaded paint and soil contaminated by both leaded paint and decades of industrial and motor vehicle emissions.1

    Exposure to lead can damage the nervous, hematopoietic and renal systems. Extremely high blood lead levels (>70 ug/dL) can potentially cause seizures, coma and even death.1

    Children between the ages of 12-36 months are most vulnerable to lead poisoning because2:

    • They ingest more lead due to hand-to-mouth transfer
    • Their gastrointestinal tracts absorb more lead than adults
    • Their developing central nervous systems are more sensitive to the effects of lead poisoning


    1. Meyers, P.A., et al. "Surveillance for Elevated Blood Lead Levels Among Children - US, 1997-2001". CDC MMWR™, September 12, 2003.
    2. The Screening Policy and Guidance for Preventing Childhood Lead Poisoning in Arizona.

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    This publication is a service to the customers and friends of BD, and is designed only to provide general information. It is not intended to be comprehensive or provide any legal or medical advice.