Childhood Lead Testing Urged

October 27, 2007

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Leaders in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood are taking this week's National Lead Poisoning Week seriously. They say lead is one of the worst threats to their community. To address that concern, Kennedy-King College in Englewood is doing free childhood lead testing today.

Lead is a toxic metal that was in many household products before 1978.

But childhood lead poisoning is still around. The Centers for Disease Control says more than three-hundred thousand children in the United States have elevated blood lead levels.

Jean Carter-Hill, executive director of Imagine Englewood If, says lead screenings are critical in her neighborhood.

CARTER-HILL: You don't know when you have it. You have to have the child screened to be able to find out if the child has lead. Even educators – I spoke with principals – and they didn't know lead was high in Englewood that's why I say it's scary…'cause it's all around us and we don't know who has it.

Carter-Hill and volunteers have been passing out flyers all week about lead awareness.

Experts say children six months to six years old should be tested. Lead has been linked to health and behavior problems.

Im Natalie Moore, Chicago Public Radio.