Children in 13 Middle Georgia counties will undergo testing for exposure to lead. In the fall health officials plan to start screening about 5,000 kids in the Head Start program.
The testing will be paid for by a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Children on Medicaid are supposed to be routinely tested, but in recent years funding has dried up.
Dr. David Harvey is the North Central Health District Director with a 40 year career as a pediatrician. He says elevated levels can usually be fixed by removing lead paint from children’s homes.
“In those events we would send someone out to survey or investigate the home situation to see if it is an old house, if it does need an abatement or mitigation of the lead exposure.”
Middle Georgia has the state’s highest incidence of lead poisoning in young children. Statewide 14 percent kids on Medicaid tested positive for lead in 2010,