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'Early intervention is best': Tool can help identify source of lead poisoning in children

Posted at 10:23 PM, Jan 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-23 10:57:41-05
  • Wisconsin is now recommending every young child be tested for potential lead poisoning
  • Brown County Public Health has a tool that can help identify the source of lead if a child is diagnosed with lead poisoning
  • Watch the video to see how the tool works

Beginning this month, Wisconsin is recommending every young child be tested for potential lead poisoning.

If a child has a high lead level as indicated by a blood draw, Brown County Public Health recently purchased a tool that can be used to try to find the source of the lead exposure.

It is called an XRF machine, "basically... a portable x-ray machine," said Joanna Chavez, who works for Brown County Public Health.

The tool can tell whether there is lead in a home's paint.

If the paint is chipped, and a young child is crawling on the home's floor, the lead dust could end up in the child's mouth, Chavez said.

"It's very dangerous for kids," Chavez said.

Brown County bought the tool within the last six months.

"It's very useful for those pre-1978 houses that have lead paint," said Becky Mooren, a public health nurse.

Mooren said 45 children in Brown County were diagnosed with lead poisoning last year.

"It can cause growth and developmental delays," Mooren said.

"Early intervention is best, so if we can get this identified early, and get them in the services they need, that's going to be best for the child."