Hundreds of children in our region are exposed to lead poisoning every year, and lead screenings are the only accurate way to know if your child has been affected.
Fortunately, on Thursday, October 19, the Jefferson County Public Health Service (JCPHS) is offering families free lead screenings by appointment. Children will receive a finger stick called a capillary test, and if the capillary test is elevated, they will be referred for a venous test at a lab. Appointments can be made at www.jcphs.org.
To further raise awareness of the consequences of lead poisoning, JCPHS is participating in National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, which runs from October 22-28, 2017.
In 2016, 215 Jefferson County children were lead poisoned.
These 215 children had a blood lead levels of at least 5 micrograms per deciliter (ug/dL), the reference level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated. Fifty of these children had blood lead levels above 10 ug/dL. No safe blood lead level in children has been identified.
Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. However, lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body.
Children who are lead poisoned can develop behavior issues like hyperactivity; slowed growth; hearing problems; learning problems, and aggressive patterns of behavior. Stopping a child’s exposure to lead from leaded paint, house dust, or any other source is the best way to prevent the harmful effects of lead.