The Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness is preparing to re-screen 4,600 children for lead levels. The city is currently facing two unrelated issues involving testing for lead.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control have found that a machine used by many cities to measure blood levels can produce inaccurate results. They are recommending that some of the children who were tested with this device be re-tested.
Lead levels in water samples drawn from some homes with lead or copper service lines exceed federal standards.
In 2016, water in Newark Public Schools was so bad that officials shut the taps off at 30 schools, where alternate water resources are being used. Officials assured residents that city water is completely safe. However, city communications director Frank Baraff recommended not drinking the water at public schools at that time.
“When a parent receives a letter from the health department, they may be concerned about what that means regarding the health of their child,” said Dr. Mark J. Wade, director of the Department of Health and Community Wellness. “I am asking parents to call the department at 866-697-5323 to speak to a medical professional who will answer their questions and set up an appointment for lead screening. We also welcome parents who received a letter to walk into the department for service without the necessity of an appointment.”
Parents who receive a letter can bring their children to the Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness located at 110 Williams St., Room 101. Free testing will take place Monday through Saturday until Sept. 30. Parents must bring identification with them.
Call 866-697-5323 for more information.
“I want to emphasize to parents who receive a letter that the initial test results were not necessarily inaccurately low,” Wade said. “We are doing the re-testing as a precautionary measure to ensure that we have accurate readings for all of the children.”