ONLY ON NEWSCHANNEL 9: SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Getting your child tested for lead may sound simple, but for many families its not easy.
The Onondaga County Health Department is making lead testing easier and more accessible to families who need it the most through its new mobile lead testing van.
“90% of homes in Onondaga County or in Syracuse were built before 1978 which is when the lead paint ban went into affect, which means that most families reside in homes where their child is potentially at risk for lead poisoning,” said Dr. Katie Anderson, Onondaga County Health Commissioner.
Something Syracuse mom, Jakoa Ford knows well.
“We had an inspector come out and check the apartment downstairs. They ended up testing my porch and said the porch was positive and that it’s important for me to take them immediately to get checked,” said Ford.
Given the awful news, both Ford’s daughters ages three and 17 months tested positive for lead. Her youngest daughter is still receiving treatment, and has been since September.
Dr. Anderson says signs of lead poisoning in children and even adults can be very subtle. Making it difficult to know if a child has been exposed, that’s why its crucial all kids get tested.
“We know that not all children have access to a pediatrician. We know that not all folks can readily make appointments. There are delays in getting appointments as well and there are barriers with transport, which is where our team and our vehicle and additional tools come in. So our goal is that going forward that the testing on the vehicle will be increasing,” said Dr. Anderson.
Wednesday, Nov. 1 was the first day of lead testing through the new mobile van at Tucker Missionary Baptist Church, and marks the beginning of their travels.
The county’s lead van will be hitting the road, traveling to different areas of the community that are heavily impacted for lead poisoning, making it their mission to get all children ages one and two tested.
Parents are asked to make an appointment for their child if they need testing. But the department will never turn away any families.
To learn more about the county’s lead van, click here.