County encourages children under 6 get tested for lead exposure

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- As part of lead poisoning prevention week, the St. Joseph County Health Department gave free lead poisoning tests to children under six and pregnant women. They are the groups most at risk if exposed to lead.

About eighty percent of homes in St. JOSEPH COUNTY could have lead paint in them because they were built before lead paint was banned in 1978.

The Health Department of St. Joseph County says children are at an extreme risk for lead poisoning.

The long term effects include learning disabilities, decreased growth, hyperactivity, hearing impairment and even brain damage. 

The health department recommends children under six get a blood test and for families to get their homes tested for lead.

"We always offer free risk assessments of homes in St. Joseph County, so anyone that has a child six years of age or younger or a pregnant women, utilize this service, call us, we will do a free inspection of your house for lead hazards," said Melissa Papp, an environmental health specialist.

You can also test your home yourself.

You can purchase lead paint test kits in the paint department of home improvement stores for just a few dollars.

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