WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Free lead testing will be available for children ages 1 to 5 at the Warren City Health District on Monday.

The tests will be offered by the Mercy Health Lead Poison Prevention Program from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m.

Lead poisoning is still prevalent, especially in older neighbors, according to Mercy Health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts more than half a million children ages 1-5 have blood lead levels high enough to damage their health.

The main source of lead exposure in children is from eating lead paint chips or inhaling lead dust. Other sources of lead are occupational take-home lead exposure, water, herbs/spices, toys, cosmetics and folk remedies, according to Mercy Health. This exposure is often built up over months or even years.

Children 3 years old and under and unborn babies are the most at risk. Pregnant women and their unborn children could also be at risk if exposed to lead during pregnancy.

There is no safe level of lead, and it can permanently damage the brain, nervous system and kidneys. It can cause developmental delays, speech and language delays, hearing loss, learning disabilities and hyperactivity/ADHD.

High levels of lead poisoning can even be fatal. Testing children for lead poisoning is the best way to prevent permanently impacting a child’s health, especially if they are at high risk for exposure.

“Protecting children from exposure to lead is important to their lifelong health, especially for those that live in high-risk zip codes or homes built prior to 1978 since lead was used in paint during that era,” said Mary Ann Turschak, lead poison prevention program coordinator at Mercy Health. “Children should be tested at ages 1 and 2 or before 6 years old if they were never tested.”

Often, there are no signs of lead poisoning. The only way to know if your child has been exposed is to do a blood test.

The Warren City Health District is located at 258 E. Market St., Suite 327.

A parent or guardian must be present at the lead testing. Parents or guardians are asked to bring the child’s Social Security number, insurance identification and doctor’s name. No appointment is necessary.

Call 330-480-6365 for more information.