Families in at-risk neighborhoods encouraged to have young children tested for lead exposure

Home. Your home is a haven of comfort and safety for your family. Yet, this same welcoming shelter could be silently poisoning your child.

That’s why Physicians Health Plan of Mid-Michigan (PHPMM), Sparrow Regional Laboratory, McLaren Health Plan, Ingham Regional Medical Center, Blue Cross of Mid-Michigan and McDonald’s restaurants partnered to provide lead testing for children ages 1 to 6 years.
Representatives from PHPMM and McLaren plan to canvass at-risk neighborhoods in Lansing.*  This service also is offered to any child in the tri-county area. Representatives will dropped off information about lead exposure and left door hangers to promote the lead testing initiative, which ran from Oct. 24 through 31.

Families were invited to visit designated Sparrow Regional Laboratory or McLaren patient centers during regular business hours where children ages 1 to 6 were given a simple finger prick blood test.

Uninsured children are welcome and will be tested thanks to funding by PHPMM, McLaren and Blue Cross. All families who bring their children in for lead testing will receive a $10 McDonald’s gift certificate in the mail.

The testing sites include Sparrow Regional Laboratory centers in Sparrow Hospital, Sparrow Professional Building and the Medical Dental Building at 2909 E. Grand River Avenue as well as Ingham Regional Medical Center labs in the main office complex on Pennsylvania Avenue and the Cedar Street Professional Building.

Target and Meijer also plan to lend their support to this important initiative, donating gift cards for mid-Michigan families who participate in future testing events.

For more information about lead testing, call PHPMM Customer Service at 1.800.661.8299 or McLaren Health Plan at 1.888.327.0671.

What is lead   poisoning?

Your family can be exposed to lead and not even know it.

People can breathe in lead or swallow it, often resulting in a high blood lead level or lead poisoning. It can be found in soil and dust, paint chips, cosmetics, folk remedies, glazed pottery and tap water.

Lead poisoning impacts people of all races and ethnicities living in the city, the suburbs or in the country. It has no signs or symptoms. In fact, the effects of lead exposure might not show up for several years.

Lead poisoning can cause learning and behavioral problems; damage the brain, kidneys and nervous system; and cause headaches and hearing loss. It also can result in premature birth and low birth weight for infants of exposed mothers as well as a decreased number of or damaged sperm in affected men and boys.

There is no safe lead blood level. Have your child tested during this community-wide initiative for better health.

For more information about lead exposure, call 1.800.532.3394 (1.800.LEAD.FYI) or The National Lead Information Center at 1.800.424.5323 (1.800.424.LEAD) or go online at www.michigan.gov/ leadsafe.