Few take advantage of free lead testing for children

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

A newspaper has found that only one in three Indiana children on Medicaid has gotten a free lead poisoning test even though the toxic metal can damage a child's brain.

The Journal Gazette reviewed data compiled by the Indiana State Department of Health and found that among the 323,466 Hoosier children getting Medicaid benefits in 2007, only 106,578 have ever had lead screenings.

Children who ingest lead, through flaking paint chips or dust, can suffer health problems that include reduced intelligence and brain damage.

In lower income children the scourge of lead poisoning is so widespread Medicaid will not only pay for every recipient younger than age six to be tested, it also requires the test be performed at least once.

The free test involves simply pricking a child's finger to get a drop of blood for analysis.

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