This week, the Milwaukee Health Department has launched an initiative to protect the health of families who may have been exposed to high levels of lead. There is a hotline to call about lead exposure, as well as free lead testing clinics for families.
The decision to provide lead testing consultation and services has been made due to the scrutiny that the city has been under for its constant lead problem.
The phone hotline will be operating all week during daytime hours. There will be four clinics that will run for three hours a day, four days a week. There are no official end dates for the hotline and the lead testing clinics.
This past Monday, the mayor of Milwaukee, Tom Barrett, emphasized that much of the lead problem is due to lead paint, as opposed to lead in the drinking water.
Last Friday and Monday, the health department sent out about 6,500 letters to families potentially affected by lead—notifying them of the free lead-testing clinics.
Lead levels should be taken very seriously. Lead poisoning affects both children and adults. Some of the side effects of lead poisoning in children include: developmental delay, seizures, constipation, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, eating things that are aren’t supposed to be food, hearing loss, weight loss and fatigue. In newborns, the symptoms include: premature growth, low birth weight and slowed growth.