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Milwaukee children may need additional lead testing

Families were not notified of previous results
Posted at 4:11 PM, Jan 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-19 19:54:25-05

One week after the Milwaukee Health Commissioner lost his job the city is taking steps to notify families who may be affected by high levels of lead in their water.

More than 6,000 families can expect a letter in their mailboxes early next week reminding them that their child may need additional testing based on previous results.

"If you’re a parent, this is an issue that’s important in our city," said Mayor Tom Barrett.

This all comes after an investigation into why the Milwaukee Health Department failed to notify thousands of families about elevated lead levels in their children.

The department has had this information since 2015.

"My hope continues to be is that was a bookkeeping problem and that individuals were in fact contacted, but out of an abundance of caution due to the seriousness of this issue," said Barrett, "That’s why we’re taking the steps we are today."

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, even low levels of lead exposure have been linked to learning disabilities, impaired hearing and damage to the nervous system.

"The only way to know if your child has been exposed to lead is to get a blood-lead test," said Barrett.

Aside from the letter there will be an informational hotline on Monday at 414-286-8800.

Kids can also get tested for lead blood levels at three health centers starting next week.

"At these clinics, families will receive a review of their child’s lead history, info and resources on preventing lead exposure and most importantly free blood lead testing," Barrett said.

The centers with their hours are:

  • Keenan Health Center at 3200 N 36th St. Open 8-11 a.m. on Fridays
  • Northwest Health Center at 7630 W Miller Road. Open 3-6 p.m. on Wednesdays
  • Southside Health Center at 639 S. 23rd Street. Open 3-6 p.m. Mondays and 1-4 p.m. on Tuesdays.