Lead Testing Information and Resources

PLEASE NOTE: Shelby County Health Department’s blood lead screenings for students and staff at Shelby County Schools found to have elevated lead levels in water sources are to be provided free of charge.

No staff member or family member should receive a bill for the testing. If they do receive a laboratory bill, they are not to pay it. Rather, they should call Belinda Wright at 901-222-9523, and the issue will be promptly resolved.

Drinking-Fountain-BubblerThe Shelby County Health Department is providing lead screenings for students and staff members at 35 Shelby County Schools found to  have elevated lead levels in water sources. The list of impacted schools and information about the water testing are available on the Shelby County Schools website at www.scsk12.org/safewater/.

Lead is a heavy metal found in the environment and in some consumer products, including paint, some imported toys and jewelry, vinyl mini-blinds, as well as some drinking water that has been contaminated by lead leached from lead pipes. 

Children are vulnerable to lead poisoning because they often put lead-contaminated objects in their mouths. They can also be exposed through ingesting and breathing dust contaminated by flaking lead paint. Even microscopic amounts of lead can cause lead poisoning and health problems in children including: 

  • decreased bone and muscle growthlead-poisoning_infographic400
  • poor muscle coordination
  • damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and/or hearing
  • speech and language problems
  • developmental delay
  • behavioral problems
  • seizures and unconsciousness (in cases of extremely high lead levels)

Blood lead testing is a routine childhood screening, often performed on children before the age of 6. The test is used to determine the amount of lead in a child’s blood. Children found to have elevated blood lead levels may need additional testing, environmental testing of their homes, or treatment to remove lead from their bodies. 

The Shelby County Health Department will provide blood lead testing at no charge at the 35 Shelby County Schools identified by the district’s water source testing. Blood samples will be collected only from children whose parents returned the screening and consent forms as requested by Shelby County Schools. 

Here is a video demonstrating the testing procedure: https://youtu.be/O0JSKqzfc9k.

If a child is absent on their school’s scheduled testing day, or if the parent did not return the consent forms by the required deadline, free lead testing will be available at all Shelby County Health Department clinics between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 

The list of Shelby County public health clinics and their addresses is below:

Cawthon Public Health Clinic
1000 Haynes, 38114

Collierville Public Health Clinic
(Tues. & Thurs. only)

167 Washington St., 38017

Hickory Hill Public Health Clinic
6590 Kirby Center Cove, 38118

Immunization Clinic
814 Jefferson, Rm. 216, 38105

Millington Public Health Clinic
8225 Highway 51 North, 38053

Shelby Crossing Public Health Clinic
6170 Macon Road, 38133

Southland Mall Public Health Clinic
1287 Southland Mall, 38116

No appointment or proof of health insurance is required, but a parent or legal guardian must accompany the child.

More information about lead:

Centers for Disease Control Lead Poisoning Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/features/leadpoisoning/index.html

HUD Healthy Homes Lead-Based Paint Guidelines: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/healthy_homes/lbp/hudguidelines

Environmental Protection Agency’s Learn about Lead Page: https://www.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead