Lead Testing

Calhoun County has one of the highest rates of children with elevated lead levels in their blood statewide. According to MDHHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while there is no safe blood lead level, a test showing five micrograms per deciliter or greater is considered elevated and a cause for concern.

Lead content is generally highest near windows in older homes - when windows are raised or lowered, lead dust can be released.
Exposure to lead can affect nearly every system in the body, and frequently goes unrecognized, which can potentially lead to serious health issues. Lead poisoning is particularly dangerous to infants and young children.

With less than 24% of Calhoun County’s children under six years of age tested, the Lead Task Force and CCPHD have been working in tandem to find where that gap lies in getting all eligible children screened. CCPHD’s WIC program also began offering testing for children during WIC appointments.

CCPHD committed to following up on all confirmed elevated blood lead levels (EBLL) ≥ 5ug/dL which consists of a venous blood lead test to rule out a false positive. A home visit is offered to the family by a nurse, who helps identify potential lead hazard areas and assists with referrals to programs to help with remediation. Education is given on how to reduce exposure to the lead areas, how to clean if lead dust is present, and to explain healthy eating which helps to reduce lead levels in the bloodstream. Repeat blood lead testing is recommended to ensure primary reduction efforts are successful.

The Lead Task Force and CCPHD continue to work towards ensuring the collaboration between health care providers and the health department on lead testing efforts, reporting, follow-up, and sharing data with MDHHS for any remediation efforts performed on houses of lead-poisoned children. Keeping all vested parties involved in the process helps to safeguard the successful outcome of the child.

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