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Test your child for lead poisoning

In recognition of National Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Oct. 24 to Oct. 30, and to raise awareness of this important public health issue, the Genesee County Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program urged parents to have their children younger than 6 tested for lead poisoning by their family physician.

During several weeks in November the Genesee County Health Department is collaborating with Mott Children's Heath Center, Genesee County Head Start and Early Head Start Programs to hold free blood lead testing clinics in several area schools.

Call Genesee County Health Department at (810) 257-3833 for additional information and to schedule an appointment.

Young children may not show signs that they are lead poisoned. A blood lead test is the only way to be certain that a child's health is not being harmed by lead. All children enrolled in Head Start and WIC programs are required to have a blood lead test. Children enrolled in a Medicaid Health Plan are required to have blood lead test at age 1 and age 2 or at least once between the ages of 3 and 6 if they have not previously been tested.  Other health insurance may pay for blood lead testing and free blood lead testing is available at the Genesee County Health Department for those without insurance.

Children under age 6 are most often poisoned by dust from lead paint in older homes, especially those built before 1950. Lead dust is created by opening and closing windows and by remodeling or renovation. Lead dust settles on floors and window sills. It is ingested when infants and toddlers put their hands or toys into their mouths as they so often do when they are exploring their world. Lead poisoning can cause problems with growth and development and research has shown links to lowered intelligence, learning disabilities, aggressive behavior and juvenile delinquency.

The damage from lead poisoning is entirely preventable. The key is stopping children from coming in contact with lead and treating children who have been poisoned. Parents and guardians can do several things to help protect their family and children from lead poisoning.

Here are three simple things that can be done to get started.

  • Get your child tested. Even if your young children seem healthy, ask your doctor if they should be tested for lead poisoning.
  • Get your house tested. Call the Health Department to find a professional that can test for the presence of lead paint in your home and to determine if you qualify for money available to help repair lead problems in the house that you are living in.
  • Get the facts. Call the Health Department to get additional information about preventing lead poisoning and how we can work together to have "lead-free kids for a healthy future."

Contact the Genesee County Health Department at (810) 257-3833 or visit www.gchd.us for more information about childhood lead poisoning prevention.

(Note: This report is provided as a service to our readers and a service to the group or individual mentioned in the release. Usually, only minor editing is done. The group or individual is responsible for all information provided.)

 

 

 

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