The CDC and the FDA are warning people about the possible inaccuracy of lead poisoning tests. Pregnant women, nursing women, and children younger than 6 years old are recommended to get retested if they used Magellan Diagnostics tests as the devices usually showed lower levels of lead in the blood of patients.
Magellan Diagnostics, which was purchased last year by Meridian Bioscience Inc, is the main producer of lead poisoning tests in the United States. Their devices are easy to use requiring only a drop of blood drawn either from the index finger or the heel prick. Until now, this was considered an accurate method of lead detection, doctors trusting the results. However, new research shows the devices can provide false results.
All Patients Should Have Their Blood Retested
The CDC and the FDA are urging all individuals who had their blood tested with Magellan Diagnostics devices to get retested as the contraptions usually showed patients had levels of 10 micrograms or less per deciliter (which is the normal, acceptable limit) when in reality, their blood featured considerably higher lead levels.
Now, both the company and the FDA are trying to find the cause of the inaccurate results. Magellan is trying to change labs that are currently using vein blood to test from skin sticks. The company must find an urgent solution to the problem as undetected lead intoxication can severely affect children.
Lead poisoning can cause impaired hearing, long-term health and developmental problems, reduce intelligence, and increase irritability. In the case of pregnant women, it can cause premature births and miscarriages. Even more concerning, led intoxication doesn’t have any obvious symptoms, being tricky to diagnose. Lead exposure in children can be caused by ingesting dust that contains lead and paint chips.
The FDA and the CDC believe the inaccuracies date back to 2014. They only made the information public now because Magellan released a complete report in March 2017 per the request of the FDA which is currently conducting extensive research on the accuracy and efficiency of lead poisoning tests.
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