ALLEGHENY COUNTY (KDKA) — It was a major problem that will forever be associated with Flint, Mich., and now local health officials are considering mandatory lead testing for young children.
The public is invited to attend and make comments during the meeting Wednesday afternoon when the Allegheny County Board of Health will consider a proposal to require lead testing in younger children.
The Allegheny County Health Department wants to know how many kids have high lead levels, where they live and how they were exposed.
Wednesday, the Board of Health will consider a proposal to require parents to have children tested for lead.
Several people think lead testing is a good idea.
“Lead is harmful for children, and actually in today’s housing projects and things like that, with children being placed in them, they could get a hold of that lead and cause very bad health problems,” Armenia Cobb said.
“I think it’s a good idea. I mean, [the testing] can’t hurt the children. It’s for their own good,” Kelly Vinay said. “I think that’s good. Somebody should be policing the children and what they’re doing and parents that are taking care of them.”
Children between the ages of 9 and 12 months would undergo blood test, and they would be tested again at 2 years old.
Schools would inform parents about the mandatory tests, plus keep files on the results for every child enrolling in kindergarten.
A child would be exempt if a doctor says testing would be detrimental to their health, or if a parent objects on religious grounds.
Last year, water in some homes from Pittsburgh Water and Sewer tested higher than 15 parts per billion, the EPA’s level for action.
And there are concerns about high lead levels in paints and pipes of older homes.
“The older the home is, the more likely you have a chance of finding lead in your drinking water,” Keith Rickabaugh, with the RJ Lee Group, said.
If the board approves that measure, it would be followed by a public comment period and then a vote by the county council. If the council approves the measure, it would take effect Jan. 1, 2018.