91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

CDC wants all Flint kids under 6 to get tested for lead

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants all Flint kids, age six and under, to get a blood test for lead by April 1.

That's more than 8,000 kids, according to census data.

"That's a lot of kids to test,” says Dr. Nicole Lurie of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  “Testing is underway. And there are lots of places in this city, whether it's your doctors office, or other sites where you can get tested in the next two months."

The state says it's important to assume all kids who drank Flint water in the last two years were exposed to lead.

But lead exposure can only be detected in a blood test for about 30 days following the exposure, because the body starts depositing that lead in teeth, bone, and other parts of the body.

So a kid’s lead exposure may not show up in the blood tests now, especially if kids have been drinking bottled or filtered water recently.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha first sounded the alarm about a spike in kids' blood lead levels.

She says this push for testing is so the feds can establish a baseline.

“It's definitely not helpful in terms of mitigating this exposure," she says. "I think it's very academic. 

You can find out more information about blood lead testing, including where to get tested, here. 

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
Related Content