BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is offering free blood tests today in Benton Harbor to find out if its residents are being exposed to lead.
The state is aiming to replace every lead water pipe in Benton Harbor in the next 18 months after high levels of lead contamination were found in the water.
The blood lead testing event is being hosted Wednesday at Tri-County Head Start Discovery Enrichment Center, at 465 S McCord Street in Benton Harbor, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. You don’t have to make an appointment.
While blood lead tests cannot tell if you have been exposed to lead in the past, they can detect lead you’re being exposed to currently. Testing is important for young children and people who are pregnant because exposure early in life can cause learning, behavior, hearing and growth problems, according to the health department.
If your blood levels show that you or your child is being exposed to lead, the goal is to find the source of lead, stop exposure and discuss with doctors to find out if any other tests or follow-up is needed. Children under six who have elevated blood lead levels will be offered nurse case management through the Berrien County Health Department, including a home visit with a registered nurse.
Children can also be blood lead tested through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children and the BCHD by calling 800.815.5485 or visiting the BCHD website. InterCare Community Health Network, located at 800 M-139, is also providing blood lead testing by appointment or by calling 855.869.6900.