Welcome to the State of California 

Lead Poisoning Prevention Unit, EHLB

The Lead Poisoning Prevention Unit (LPPU) of the Biochemistry Section of the Environmental Health Laboratory Branch (EHLB) provides testing for biological as well as environmental samples referred by other California State public health agencies. The Unit also maintains a list of clinical laboratories proficient in blood lead (PDF) Opens a new browser window. analysis eligible for reimbursement for blood lead testing by the California Child Health and Disability Program (CHDP), and investigates new methodologies for measuring toxic metal exposure to the residents of California.

The LPPU serves as a reference laboratory for public health agencies and as a referee laboratory for determining levels of analytes in reference and proficiency materials for biological testing and provides technical assistance and advice to the California Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program and other public health agencies in California. The laboratory also investigates new methodologies for measuring toxic metal exposure to the residents of California.  

Biological Testing

The  EHLB's LPPU holds a CLIA Certificate of Compliance (PDF)  Opens in a new browser window. and can analyze blood and other biological specimens for lead content and other heavy metal content. This service is utilized by public health agencies in California for research and special projects, for confirmation of results reported by other laboratories, and to assist other laboratories in maintaining the quality of their blood lead level testing. The section also acts as a referee laboratory for proficiency testing programs and the Center for Disease Control in setting target values for proficiency testing materials and reference materials for blood lead, other heavy metals, and erythrocyte protoporphyrin.

The unit also evaluates new methods of monitoring the population for toxic metals poisoning and for monitoring human exposure to lead and other toxic metals in California.

Environmental Testing

The LPPU laboratory is accredited in the USEPA National Lead Laboratory Accreditation Program (NLLAP),(PDF).Opens in a new browser window.  Environmental testing in the LPPU laboratory supports the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch (CLPPB) of the California Department of Public Health and other public health programs. For commercial laboratories providing environmental lead testing services to the public at large, we recommend contacting a private-sector NLLAP laboratory.

Testing of suspected sources of exposure in cases of lead poisoning may include substances such as paint, soil, dust, and any other environmental sample commonly identified as sources of lead exposure. In cases where these typical sources of lead are ruled out, county and state public health organizations may submit samples of less commonly tested potential sources of lead such as: candies; ceramics; plastic ware; mini blinds; herbal medicines or home remedies; and other more unique items to the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch for analysis at the LPPU laboratory. California Department of Public Health and FDA Alert warnings were issued as a result of investigations and testing done at the LPPU laboratory.


Ryszard Gajek, Ph.D.
Research Scientist Supervisor, Inorganic Analyses
State of California Department of Public Health
Environmental Health Laboratory Branch
850 Marina Bay Parkway, MS G365
Richmond, CA 94804
Telephone: (510) 620-2801
Email: ryszard.gajek@cdph.ca.gov
Last modified on: 9/25/2013 3:49 PM