Chatham Co. Health Dept. offering free blood testing for lead poisoning

Chatham Co. Health Dept. offering free blood testing for lead poisoning

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Lead poisoning is a serious concern for young children.

Here in Savannah with our historic homes and architecture, lead exposure does happen. To help you, the Chatham County Health Department is running free testing through October 30.

Next week is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week and the Coastal Health District is working to make sure your family is protected.

“The human body does not need to have lead in it at all," said Lead and Healthy Homes Regional Coordinator Maria Wargovich. "It’s a neurotoxin and it’s especially harmful to children because their central nervous system is growing and developing. That’s why we have the childhood lead poisoning program.”

Last year in Chatham County more than 3,600 children under the age of six were tested for lead in their blood and 86 of them had levels that were too high. Lead can impact a child’s IQ, their ability to pay attention and more. And sadly, the effects cannot be reversed.

It’s most commonly found in lead based paint often used on homes prior to 1978, but it can also be found in some common everyday items. To help families in our historic city know if their child’s been exposed, the Chatham County Health Department is offering free blood level testing through October 30.

“We want to urge all the parents to take advantage of our free health screenings for lead," said Environmental Health Specialist Jermell Reedy. "It takes place this week as well as next week. Call in and get scheduled, get an appointment because this is something that we really need to take heed of. There is lead poisoning in our historic city and it’s something we really need to get ahold of.”

Lead experts say poisoning is preventable and that’s why they encourage families to check their child’s environment and learn all they can with a free screening.

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