Drop In Childhood Lead Testing Raising Concerns

U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee has expressed concern over low lead testing in children.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, testing for lead in kids has dropped by at least 50 percent in Michigan compared to 2019, as well as several other states where there have been historically high rates of lead poisoning. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reports the number of children under the age of six tested for lead dropped 76 percent in April 2020 as compared to April 2019. That drop continued into the next month with the number of children tested 61 percent lower in May 2020 than May 2019.

The pandemic has forced many families to skip or delay pediatric appointments for their children in which lead poisoning testing occurs. Kildee and 19 other members of Congress have sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about their concerns. They say with many children staying home from school and doing remote or virtual learning, the risks of lead poisoning increases as many homes may have lead paint, dust or pipes.

According to the CDC, there is no safe level of lead. Lead poisoning has severe and long-lasting implications for childhood development. Lead exposure can lead to behavioral, endocrine and cardiovascular conditions, as well as learning difficulties and neurodevelopmental deficits. Research has shown that childhood lead exposure can impact healthy growth and development in addition to limiting lifelong socioeconomic advancement.