The main interest of the examination is to detect lead poisoning, whether occupational or environmental origin (or former habitat near an industrial site.


Lead absorbed with drinks, tap water or occupational poisoning (printers, typographers old) or accidental (pieces of old paint flaking, ancient wall papers accidentally ingested) slowly into the blood and is found in red blood cells where it inhibits the synthesis of heme.

blood lead

Sample of 10 mL of blood on heparin sodium.

The assay is performed by atomic absorption spectrometry voltammetry or potentiometry.


Normal values:

– Adult: less than 150 mg / L;

– Child: less than 100 mg / L.

Pathological changes:

abnormal rate only reflects recent exposure to lead, less than 1 month (average lifespan of lead); therefore consideration should be repeated. Whether blood lead:

– Between 200 and 450 mg / L, a specialist consultation should be recommended;

– Greater than 450 g / L, immediate treatment is undertaken.



Practical advice:

A regular drinker of beer or wine (at least 200 grams of pure alcohol per day) commonly have blood lead levels above 300 mg / L.

Therefore, if in doubt about a poisoning, it is important to practice amino-levulinic acid assay (ALA) and urinary erythrocyte protoporphyrin, which remain high long after exposure.

When the supply pipes are made of lead, they contaminate the water tap and cause lead poisoning.

There are also occupational poisoning.


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