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InterCare to hold health event ft. lead blood tests for children in Benton Harbor this weekend

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 6:36 PM EDT
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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WNDU) - InterCare Health Health Network will be holding a fall health event to help children in Benton Harbor get tested for lead poising.

This is all comes as a part of National Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, and as the city is experiencing extremely high lead levels in the Benton Harbor’s tap water.

“In Benton Harbor, there will be a fall health event which will include blood lead testing for children specifically in the Benton Harbor area as there have been more recent concerns about lead in the drinking water there,” Berrien County Health Department’s Gillian Conrad says.

The event will be hosted by InterCare on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. where parents can bring their children to get a lead blood test for free.

“It’s a simple blood test, a draw of the blood from that child in order for us to determine whether they have elevated levels of lead in their blood, which would link them immediately to services and resources, making sure there can be some case management to remove that exposure of lead from their life and hopefully make that lead level decrease for that child,” Conrad says.

However, while health officials say some residents may believe they have their home under control, there’s a lot more to lead exposure than what most people think.

“Lead is a neurotoxin and can be present in the home in a number of different ways including possibly in drinking water, in lead pipes or plumbing, or other fixtures, faucets, etc. As well as lead-based paint which is now banned in the United States but still present in many old homes like the ones we often see in the city of Benton Harbor,” Conrad says.

Without identifying the lead level inside a child, if any, at any early stage, a child’s mental and physical development can suffer severe consequences as they grow.

More often than not, these sources of lead exposure we see with elevated lead levels in children come from that led-based paint, which can chip off, get into dust or soil, and can make its way into a child’s body which can raise that lead level and be dangerous for that child and their health outcomes,” Conrad says.

For more information on InterCare’s fall health event in Benton Harbor this Saturday, click here.

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