Protecting Your Children From Lead Poisoning

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Protecting Your Children From Lead Poisoning

A 2019 report from the Marion Co. Public Health Department said that 161 schools and facilities tested positive for lead in their water. They retested clean, but parents want answers.

INDIANAPOLIS -- What's in your kid's drinking water at school?

8,842 water samples from 297 schools and facilities were tested during a 16-month-period  in 2018, said the Marion County Public Health Department.

Elevated levels of lead were found in drinking water samples from 161 of those local schools and facilities in Marion County, says the report released in Jan. 2019.

Retesting was done after remediation, and elevated levels of lead weren't detected, but that hasn't put the parents or guardians at Marion County schools at ease.

On Tuesday night they gathered and demanded legislative action to protect their children from lead poisoning. 

“I hope to see that every child will be required to be tested in the schools,” said Leslie Bassett to WISH-TV. Bassett's 9-year-old grandson attends a Pike Township elementary school. 

Right now, Indiana doesn't have laws mandating regular testing for lead contamination in school drinking water, or laws for regular lead exposure testing for children.

Neuropsychologist Dr. Vicki Sudhalter said lead is a poison.

"It destroys neurons, it destroys the architecture of particular parts of the brain." 

This means even low levels of lead in blood can affect IQ, the ability to pay attention and academic achievement, said the Centers for Disease Control.

Jo Rhodes with the Marion County Public Health Department agreed with parents on Tuesday night, saying that required testing for children could help identify and treat lead exposure.

"I don't know about all counties in Indiana," said Rhodes.  "But in Marion County, I believe it would be a good idea, personally, just because of the amount of all older housing stock and the major source of exposure that it brings."

Rhodes added that old paint from before 1978 is usually one of the sources of lead exposure.

A second public forum is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at the IU McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.

(Photo: Madyson McGill)

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