Denver Children Aren’t Tested Enough For Blood Lead Levels: Officials

"Test results can protect still-developing children, warn of infrastructure failures"

"Doctors test only a fraction of Denver children for levels of lead in their blood each year, even though federal law requires the tests for thousands of them.

Medical experts believe testing should be more common, in part, because there are tens of thousands of lead service lines buried all around the city — and tests often are the only way to know whether a child has lead poisoning. As shown in Flint, Mich., the tests also serve as an early indicator of lead-contaminated water.

Denver Health pediatrician Mark Anderson said parents likely aren’t having their children tested because they don’t know they should — and doctors likely overlook the tests or consider them a lower priority. Colorado state health officials say they’re working to raise awareness and boost testing frequency, because without more data, they can’t make any broad assumptions about lead exposure in Denver.

“Our data gives us a good idea, but we need many more children to be tested,” state toxicologist Kristy Richardson said. “And right now testing rates are especially low.”"

Conrad Swanson reports for the Denver Post July 12, 2021.

Source: Denver Post, 07/14/2021