Reduction in blood lead notification level

News article

08 March 2021

The current notification level of 0.48 (or greater) micromoles per litre of blood (µmol/l) is to be reduced.

  • The new notification level will be 0.24 µmol/l (or greater). 
  • The new notification level comes into effect on 9 April 2021.

The notification process is triggered when a person returns a blood lead test that shows an elevated blood lead level.  If the results of the blood test meet or exceed the notification level then the health practitioner (or medical laboratory) reports this to their to their local medical officers of health for further follow-up. This allows the source of the lead exposure to be identified and health risks managed.

  • Public health units follow up notifications and manage non-occupational exposures
  • If medical officers of health reasonably believe that any given case arises from workplace exposure then they must advise WorkSafe New Zealand for follow-up.

The most common source of lead exposure in a household setting is from lead-based paint that was used on older houses.  Over time such paint can deteriorate, or be removed in renovations. If not managed properly people can be exposed to it.

More information about lead poisoning, symptoms, prevention, and lead notifications is available on the Ministry’s website:

The Notifiable and Infectious Diseases Order 2021 will make the change.

If you have any questions you can email the Ministry via [email protected]

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