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Lead testing down from last year in St. Louis

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – The state requires children under the age of six in the city of St. Louis and much of St. Louis County to be tested annually for lead poisoning.

But officials with the Lead Safe St. Louis program say testing is down so far this year 30 percent from last year.

Director Jeanine Arrighi says parents may be reluctant to have blood drawn from their children's arm. But she says a newer test requires just a finger prick.

"You just have to do a finger stick and drop two drops of blood onto this matchbook and mail it off to the laboratory for analysis, so it's less invasive," Arrighi said. "It's cost-effective; it's generally cheaper than other lab analysis."

Arrighi says the test, called Filter Paper Testing is also easier for physicians.

While the Department of Health requires annual testing, there are no penalties for either physicians or parents if they don't comply.

The City of St. Louis is beginning a physician outreach initiative officials hope will increase testing for lead poisoning.


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