The Multnomah County Health Department tonight reports that a total of 519 children and adults were screened for lead poisoning over two days.
No child or adult tested today at Creston School had elevated blood lead levels. Just two children tested Monday at Rose City Park recorded blood lead levels that require they see their doctor for a venous blood test.
The results emerge from two largest lead screening events that the County has ever held. As many children and adults were tested for lead poisoning in the two clinics as the Health Department usually screens in six months.
“This has been a remarkable joint effort between Portland Public Schools and Multnomah County Health to provide information and results for a worried community,’’ said Joanne Fuller, Health Department Director.
“As family after family left, you could just see the relief on their moms and dads’ faces.’’
Multnomah County Environmental Health and Public Health staff popped up the clinic along with members of the Medical Reserve Corps, a group of volunteer doctors, nurses and other clinicians from across county who muster for the Health Department in the event of a large scale public health emergency. Behavioral health and nutrition counselors from Multnomah County and staff from the County’s school-based health centers joined nurses from the Multnomah Education Service District at the two events.
Community interpreters speaking Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish and American Sign Language accompanied families to one of five testing tables set up in the Creston gym today.
The finger prick test tells how many micrograms (millionths of a gram) of lead are in each deciliter (tenth of a liter) of a child’s blood (µg/dL). A blood lead level will tell if a person has been exposed to lead in the last three months. While no level of lead is viewed as safe, a confirmed level at or above 5 μg/dL is elevated and triggers public health action.
The County popped up the clinics after reports of elevated lead in water fixtures at Rose City Park and Creston schools last week. Because lead can harm the developing brain and other organs, the Multnomah County Health Officer Dr. Paul Lewis recommended that pregnant staff and children who attend Rose City Park and Creston be tested.
The Health Department will be analyzing further data to determine where additional testing may be needed. Families with questions can visit the leadline.org.