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Blood Lead Testing


Lead poisoning affects the brain (thinking) abilities of children.  It will affect their ability to learn in school. 

Testing for blood lead is required for kids on Medicaid.  It is recommended that testing be done at: 

  • 12 months
  • Again at 24 months.  
  • If not previously tested , by the time a child enters pre-school or school.

Most areas in our tri-county area (Branch, Hillsdale, St. Joseph counties) have shown "At Risk" housing or other sources that promote lead poisoning. 

Parents/caregivers are encouraged to have the blood lead level checked at the appropriate intervals with visits to their physician for well-child examinations.  Otherwise testing is available through our Agency by special arrangement.  Screening for eligibility and appropriate testing is reviewed.  Children may be screened through our WIC Nutrition Program.

Questions regarding testing can be answered at the following numbers: 

Coldwater: 517-279-9561 ext. 115
Hillsdale:   517-437-7395 ext. 324
Three Rivers:  269-273-2161 ext. 211

The Community Health Agency also offers follow-up services for children with elevated blood leads by doing home assessments to determine sources of the lead.  We also have referral procedures for children who need medical attention for their lead poisoning.
view environmental hazards

Signs and symptoms of Lead poisoning in children may include:

  • Developmental delay
  • Learning difficulties
  • Irritability 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sluggishness and fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Hearing loss
  • Seizures
  • Eating things, such as paint chips, that aren't food (pica). 

How can I determine if my child should be tested?
The following questions can help you identify your child’s risk for lead poisoning:

  • Does the child now or in the recent past live in or often visit a house built before 1950 with peeling or chipping paint? This could include a day care, preschool, or home of a relative.
  • Does the child now or in the recent past live in or often visit a house built before 1978 that has been remodeled within the last year?
  • Does the child have a brother or sister (or playmate) with lead poisoning?
  • Does the child live with an adult whose job or hobby involves lead?
  • Does the child's family use any home remedies that may contain lead?

If you answered no to every question, this means your child is at LOW RISK for lead poisoning.
If you answered yes or don't know to any of these questions, this means your child is at HIGH RISK for lead poisoning. The only way to know for sure is to have your child tested. Talk to your child's doctor to arrange for a blood test. Show the doctor this questionnaire so he or she knows why your child is at risk.

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