FOX13 Investigates: Getting your blood tested for lead poisoning

By: Jim Spiewak

Updated:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Health experts predict there could be thousands of people living in Shelby County with lead poisoning and not even know it. 

Testing is always available, but not everyone takes advantage of it.  

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Alisa Haushalter is the director of the Shelby County Health Department and said, “Being exposed to lead is still a problem in our country. It’s still a problem in Memphis and Shelby County. We still have challenges were not lead free yet.”  

On Tuesday, we went to the health department to watch as a woman’s blood was drawn.  The results will be back in 1 to 3 days.  

Because lead can impact brain development, children under the age of 6 and pregnant women are most at risk.

But lead can also stay in the body for 30 years so anyone in theory could get tested. 

“It’s critical our children are tested so we’re aware of whether or not they’ve been exposed to lead,” Haushalter said. 

In 2016, 409 of the 17,000 kids tested in Shelby County had blood levels above what is allowable by federal and state standards.

Those numbers put Shelby County well above the national average. 

“There is lead teaching that infrastructure overtime do you changed out,” Haushalter added.

FOX13 uncovered that MLGW does not have an accurate inventory list of all underground lead pipes. 

They are not locating and in some cases replacing them, a process that could take up to 10 years.

If you would like to get tested, you can do so with your primary care physician or at the health department. 

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