Two Fresno areas test high for lead poisoning in children

Two Fresno areas test high for lead poisoning in children

Two areas of Fresno are seeing an upswing in lead poisoning cases involving children. Since 1991 the Fresno County Health Department has been screening children for possible lead poisoning at twelve and 24 months. Children receiving government assistance such as Medi-cal, food stamps or a food nutrition program must be screened.

David Pomaville is director of the county health department. "That allows us if there is an exposure to intervene at a more appropriate time and there's potential less harm done."

The screening has pin-pointed the problem area to two zip codes in Fresno, 93701 and 93702. Mary Morrisson is the supervising nurse for the county health department. " We see it in the home with paint in older homes but we also see it in things coming from other countries; pottery, some candy some jewelry." The health department has a window frame that shows how families can be exposed to lead paint each time the window is raised or lowered.

Children can also be exposed to lead from home remedies. Amy Dobrinin who supervises the lead screening program says it involves products called Greta or Azarcon. "So a lot of babies that are fussy, I call it cholic they actually put it in their bottle and shake it up. It's almost 100 percent lead. Dobrinin says exposure to lead can also be found in crystal dishes, Mexican pottery and knick knacks from China.

Families can also be exposed to lead from old faucets. If it's time to replace it, make sure it reads EPA approved on the box. The health department screening detected 20 children with high levels of lead poisoning. It adds that close to 1,000 homes are under surveillance.

For more information about the Fresno County Department of Public Health childhood lead poisoning prevention program call (559) 600-3590.