Over the past year, Flint, Michigan, has made national headlines with its lead poisoning outbreak that has impacted thousands of children under the age of six. Too much lead in the body can cause irreversible problems in children such as stunted growth, brain damage, kidney damage and hearing problems.
What’s more – Flint is not the only city affected. Nearly every major U.S. city and many surrounding areas have experienced high lead levels in the past 15 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least four million U.S. households have been exposed to high levels of lead. Equally concerning, CDC data suggests that screening rates vary greatly across counties and states. Urban or rural, we’re all at risk – and so are our kids.
Side effects of lead poisoning can take anywhere from three to five years to materialize in children with elevated blood lead levels. The damage of this outbreak is far-reaching and in many cases, has caused permanent and lifelong damage. So, what steps can parents take to minimize their children’s exposure to lead? What are the warning signs? How can people avoid unnecessary risk? Along with educating families about lead poisoning, a lead screening program geared toward at-risk populations can efficiently test children’s blood lead levels and direct their parents to further medical attention as necessary.
BioIQ and its strategic healthcare partners, LabCorp and Advance Health, are working with Walmart to help Michigan families Pledge No to Lead. On select Saturdays in July, parents can bring children age 12 months to six years to participating Walmart stores for a free lead test. A registered nurse will administer a quick finger prick and BioIQ will process the sample and provide test results online. No appointment is necessary and tests are free!
Learn more about the Pledge No to Lead campaign.