Currently, Lancaster County has the second highest percentage of children with lead poisoning in Pennsylvania, more than 11 percent. And, we have the second lowest screening rates in the state. We have 2 to 3 times as many children who have been lead poisoned as the much-publicized cases in Flint, Michigan. At least 200 more children are lead poisoned every year in this county.
Although no levels of lead exposure are safe, children with a level of 5 or more mcg/dl (milligrams per deciliter) of lead are cause for action. Lead poisoning can cause serious intellectual, emotional and physical problems, especially in young children. The longer a child is exposed to lead conditions, the greater the potential for more damage to the brain and nervous system. Many of these children will need special education and other services because of the impact of lead.
Recently, a push for universal screening is happening in Lancaster County. Universal screening is advised at 9-12 months and 24 months for all county children and is supported both by the American Association of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lancaster City received a $10 million HUD grant to help make the most high-risk houses lead safe in an effort to prevent future generations from suffering the toxic consequences of lead.