Published on December 3, 2021

There is no safe level of lead, yet nearly 70% of GrassrootsHealth participants have detectable levels, and 20% have levels above the reference range. Here’s how to tell if lead exposure is affecting you.

Key Points

  • Approximately 20% of GrassrootsHealth participants who have tested their lead level as part of the PLUS Elements Panel had a result above the lab reference range; there is no safe level of lead
  • Lead is poisonous and can lead to problems all over the body, especially within the brain, and it is especially harmful for children, babies, and pregnant women
  • In the United States today, at least 4 million households with kids are exposed to high levels of lead, and nearly half a million children ages 1-5 have lead blood levels above 5 µg/dL; it is important to measure lead levels in the body and to know how lead exposure occurs in order to eliminate or minimize it

There is no safe level of lead in the body, yet nearly 70% of GrassrootsHealth participants who have tested their lead level (as part of the PLUS Elements panel blood spot test) have had detectable levels of lead in their blood (with a result of 1 ug/dL or higher). Approximately 20% of the participants who tested had levels above the lab reference range (greater than 2.23 μg/dL); the reference range indicates the range of typical results found in the population the lab serves but does not necessarily indicate the optimal range for health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5 µg/dL is considered the case classification of an elevated blood lead level, which is especially dangerous to pregnant women and children. Of participants who have tested their lead level through GrassrootsHealth since we began offering the test in the spring of 2019, 34 participants have had a level of 5 µg/dL or higher.

Any Level of Lead Could Harm Your Health

Lead is extremely poisonous and can lead to problems all over the body. It can accumulate over time and is stored in bone, blood, and tissues. Chronic, low-level lead exposure can affect the body’s cardiovascular, reproductive, and renal systems. Exposure can also reduce vitamin D and hemoglobin synthesis.

Short-term exposure to very high levels can cause abdominal pain, headaches, loss of appetite, weakness, and memory loss. During pregnancy, lead in bones can be released and passed from the mother’s body to the baby which may result in miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, learning or behavioral problems, or damage to the baby’s brain, kidneys, or nervous system.

Lead is particularly harmful to children because they absorb more lead than adults and their bodies are more vulnerable to its effects. In children, even low levels of lead in the blood can cause anemia, rashes, abdominal pain, loss of hearing, lower IQ, hyperactivity, and behavior and learning problems. Rarely, high levels of lead exposure in children can result in severe neurological defects, coma, or death.

The following video, What Does Lead Poisoning Do To Your Brain?, gives an excellent explanation of how lead can affect our health, with its most serious effects occurring in the brain.

Lead Exposure Remains an Issue in Many Areas

According to the CDC, in the United States today, at least 4 million households with kids are exposed to high levels of lead, and nearly half a million children ages 1-5 have lead blood levels above 5 µg/dL.

A study recently published by Hauptman et al. (September, 2021), evaluating lab data from 1,141,441 children ages 6 years or younger and living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia, found that more than half of the children had detectable levels of lead (with a lead level of greater than 1 µg/dL), and 2% had levels of 5.0 μg/dL or more.

How are You Exposed to Lead?

Lead is a metal from the earth’s crust that can be found in small amounts in the soil, water, and air. It has been used in numerous products such as paint, pipes, gasoline, batteries, cosmetics, jewelry, and ammunition. Lead can enter the environment from these sources or from current and former industrial facilities, especially those involved in mining or producing lead. With the discontinuation of lead-based paint and leaded gasoline in most countries, exposure to the general public has significantly declined.

Exposure to lead may occur by drinking water or eating food that contains lead. Using dishes or glasses that contain lead may also cause lead to be ingested. Lead can be inhaled, which is more readily absorbed by the body than when ingested. A common route for lead inhalation is during house construction projects in older homes if paint is disturbed or in buildings where lead-based paint is deteriorating. Additionally, working or participating in hobbies where lead is used, such as construction, lead glass making, soldering, or scrap metal recycling increase the risk of exposure. Children may have increased exposure because they are more likely to put their hands, toys, and dirt in their mouths. Multiple government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) develop and enforce regulations regarding lead in drinking water and consumer products. It is important to only buy and use regulated products.

Test Your Lead Level as Part of the Elements Panel

Measuring your level of lead and other toxic elements can help determine if you and your loved ones are being exposed, and if steps need to be taken to decrease that exposure and build-up in the body.  Decreasing toxic elements while having and maintaining healthy levels of essential elements, vitamin D, and other nutrients can help improve your health now and for your future. Choose which to measure, such as your vitamin D, omega-3s, and essential and toxic minerals including magnesium and iron, by creating your custom home test kit today. Take steps to improve the status of each of these measurements to benefit your overall health. You can also track your own intakes, symptoms and results to see what works best for YOU.

Enroll and test your levels today, learn what steps to take to improve your status of vitamin D (see below) and other nutrients and blood markers, and take action! By enrolling in the GrassrootsHealth projects, you are not only contributing valuable information to everyone, you are also gaining knowledge about how you could improve your own health through measuring and tracking your nutrient status, and educating yourself on how to improve it.

What Does it Take YOU to Get Your D to 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)?

Did you know your health could be greatly affected by making sure you have a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)? Help us help you.

STEP 1 - Do you know what your vitamin D level is? If not, be sure to test today to find out.

STEP 2 – Determine your target level. Are you at your target level? Experts recommend a level of at least 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L).

STEP 3 – Need to boost your level? Use the D*calculator to see how much vitamin D it may take to reach your target. Opt for the Loading Dose for a quicker boost.

STEP 4 – Optimize how your body absorbs and utilizes vitamin D with co-nutrients and these simple steps.

STEP 5 – Re-Test! This is an important step to make sure you have reached your target level, and to ensure you are not taking too much! Re-testing after 3-4 months is recommended.

STEP 6 – Adjust, Repeat…

Give your immune system the nutrients it needs to support a healthy you and protect yourself from unnecessary diseases, especially COVID-19.


The first Randomized Controlled Trial on vitamin D and COVID-19 has shown a 96% lower risk of ICU admission for those receiving vitamin D (as 25(OH)D to quickly boost vitamin D blood levels) along with the standard treatment, compared to those receiving standard treatment alone.

These results support many previous observational studies showing a relationship between vitamin D levels and intake and COVID-19 severity.

Review the Latest Nutrient Research for COVID-19

GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute has launched the new Immune Boost project with the use of our myData-myAnswers nutrient health system that nearly 15,000 people are already using for their health. Specific markers that influence immune health are suggested for testing as part of this project including:

  • Vitamin D
  • Omega-3 Index
  • Essential elements magnesium, selenium, and zinc
  • hsCRP

Our goal is to demonstrate how one can use the Nutrient Research Model established by Dr. Robert Heaney to show the effect of vitamin D serum levels of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) on risk reduction for all ethnicities in the population. Status and intake of other nutrients will also be analyzed for any type of relationship to immune status and symptom severity. Join the project today!

Please let us know if you're interested in helping sponsor this project.

CLICK HERE for updates and new information about the project.

Through GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute, you can also test your essential elements magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium, toxins such as lead, mercury and cadmium, as well as your omega-3 levels, inflammation levels and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level. Find out your levels today! Log on to the test selection page (click the link below) to get your tests and see for yourself if your levels can be improved.

Make sure you track your results before and after, about every 6 months!

Click Here to Access the Test Page

How can I track my nutrient intake and levels over time?

To help you track your supplement use and nutrient levels, GrassrootsHealth has created the Personal Health Nutrient Decision System called

For each specific supplement, you can track what days you take it, how much, and many other details.  This will help you know your true supplemental intake and what patterns of use work for you to reach and maintain optimum nutrient levels. Check it out today!