Children on the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation can be tested for lead levels in their blood April 7 and 8 under a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program designed to help families reduce lead exposure and to gather information for its own anti-lead efforts on what levels are to be found in American Indian communities.
Tests are free and private, to be conducted by medical employees of the Indian Health Service (IHS), the EPA said in a release on April 6. Parents will learn the results immediately and get advice on how to improve the reading. The EPA, IHS and tribes’ environmental programs will use the data to determine which communities are most in need of education about lead poisoning, as well as pinpoint ways to conduct outreach and early intervention to reduce lead exposure in children.
The toxic metal lingers in homes because it was used for years in consumer products and paints, among other items, as well as being emitted by cars, planes and seeping into drinking water via the plumbing, the EPA said. It also can be in imported products made in countries with laxer lead laws and compromises health in many ways. Children ages six and younger are most susceptible to these adverse health effects.
The test will consist of a quick finger prick, drawing out a single drop of blood that will take three minutes to analyze, the EPA said. On April 7 the test will be offered at the White Mesa, Utah, Community Center from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and the April 8 test will be at the Towaoc, Colorado, Community Center during the same hours.