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Letter: Lead exposure screening crucial to children’s health

As a pediatrician with more than 20 years of experience, I approach the care of each child and family with thoroughness in a holistic way, including regular well child exams, administering vaccines, sick visits — and lead testing. The future promise lost to lead exposure is one of the greatest tragedies, as it is completely preventable — still 8,000 Pennsylvania kids are exposed to and poisoned by lead paint each year.

Lead exposure screening should be a part of every physician’s protocol. The side effects of lead poisoning can be silent initially, but once they do appear, they are irreversible. There are no safe levels of lead in our blood. I’ve seen what this poison does to children and the long-term ramifications of lead exposure in our community: Illness, irritability, loss of appetite and, most tragically, diminished promise through developmental delays and long-term behavior problems.

Many families have postponed well child care and screening lab work such as lead testing during the pandemic, and I’d like to encourage them to make and keep those appointments now.

I support the Lead-Free Promise Project’s goals to create a state fund for low-income homeowners and landlords to remove lead paint-based hazards in properties, guarantee all children get tested twice for lead at ages 1 and 2 and ensure all poisoned children are referred to early intervention services. I urge Gov. Tom Wolf and all state legislators in the Reading region to support these goals and protect kids for good.

Dr. Karen Wang
Director of Pediatrics, Berks Community Health Center

Source: Berkshire mont

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