Burlington County Health Department to offer free child lead screenings

The Burlington County Health Department is teaming up with the Beverly Housing Authority for a free community lead screening at the end of August.

The Burlington County Health Department and Virtua Community Nursing Services, in cooperation with the Beverly Housing Authority, will be conducting a free community child lead screening on Monday, Aug. 26 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 101 Magnolia St., Beverly. The screening is open to all children under 6 years of age.

Exposure to lead can result in neurological problems that may cause developmental delays, behavioral issues and difficulties at school. The free screening is done via a fingerstick and will tell parents if their child has elevated levels of lead in their blood. Education on how to prevent exposure to lead is also provided at the session.

“In an effort to get even more children screened, we have partnered with Virtua to host additional opportunities for families to have their children screened for elevated blood lead levels with community screenings this month,” said Burlington County Health Department Director Dr. Herb Conaway. “Early identification of lead toxicity means more timely intervention to prevent the devastating, life-long effects of lead exposure. We are happy to work with the Housing Authority to bring this screening onsite and are hoping parents take advantage of this program.”

The CDC estimates that at least 4 million U.S. households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead, and approximately half a million U.S. children age 1 to 5 years have blood lead levels above 5 μg/dl, the reference level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated. The primary exposure to lead in children in the U.S. is through lead-based paint, but unknown to many, lead is also in many products, such as makeup, toys, jewelry, zippers and imported ceramics (plates, bowls, mugs).

In addition to the community lead screenings, free walk-in child lead screenings continue to take place at the Burlington County Health Department every Monday from 9 a.m. to noon. Appointments also available upon request by calling (609) 914-8550.

For questions about lead in the home, call the national hotline 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).  Other resources include the Southern Regional Lead and Healthy Homes Coalition at (856) 665-6000, the Burlington County Health Department Lead Program at (609) 265-5515, and the state of New Jersey Lead Safe program https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/leadsafe.html.