Chaffee County Public Health now offers blood lead testing for children, by appointment in Salida and Buena Vista. The test will be free, though insurance may be charged if applicable. The type of test that is offered is a capillary test, which means that a small amount of blood is collected from the fingertip or heel of the child. Any child who’s capillary result is high will be directed to HRRMC for a venous blood draw, which is more accurate. Many health care clinics in Chaffee County also offer blood lead testing for children. We hope this addition to our clinical services at CCPH will ensure families have ample opportunities to get their children tested.
Lead can be found inside and outside the home, including in the water that travels through lead pipes or in the soil around the house. However, the most common source of exposure is from lead-based paint, which was used in many homes built before 1978. Adults and children can get lead into their bodies by breathing in the lead dust (especially during activities such as renovations, repairs or painting) or by swallowing lead dust that settles in food, food preparation surfaces, floors, window sills, and other places, or eating paint chips or soil that
contain lead. Children can also become exposed to lead dust from adults’ jobs or hobbies, and from some metal toys or toys painted with lead-based paint. It is required that any child on Medicaid be tested at 12 and 24 months. Any child on private insurance should be tested if
they are at risk of exposure, such as living in or spending time in a house built before 1978. Testing is also available to other aged children or adults if necessary based on risk factors.
“Lead is a neurotoxin, and no safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Protecting children from exposure to lead is important for lifelong health, since even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect learning, ability to pay attention, and academic success. With
Chaffee County’s history of mining and smelting, along with the fact that many residents live in older homes, lead poisoning prevention for children is an essential role of Public Health,” says Sandra Morgan, CCPH Nurse. If you’d like more information about your child’s risk of exposure to lead, or to make an appointment please call Sandra Morgan at 719-530-2563 or the front desk at 719-539-4510.