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Cleveland Metropolitan School District to test students for lead poisoning

Posted at 6:45 PM, Apr 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-20 18:45:45-04

Lead poisoning can cause anything from long and short-term memory loss to comprehension issues and behavioral problems. Kids in Cleveland are at a risk of having it, but only about a third of them are being tested. 

Terrell Wainwright's son was behaving poorly in school, but a concerned counselor advised her to get him tested for lead. 

"I was shocked because all that time I just thought that he was being bad, just being a terror," said Wainwright. 

The tests came back for high levels of lead in his system, so the city went to her home to investigate. 

"The actual apartment building had high levels of lead so they ended up demolishing that apartment building," she said. 

Now there's a program to help more kids just like Wainwright's son. The Cleveland Metropolitan School District is bringing to lead testing to the schools. 

"The biggest portion is educating parents, to get them to sign the consent form, send them back, its a simple finger stick for a child and we’ll take care of everything else," said Debbie Aloshen, the CMSD director of nursing and health services. 

According to the CDC, in Cleveland, 17 percent of children under six have five micrograms per deciliter of blood in their system, which they say is cause for concern. 

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District is now offering the program in five elementary schools and they hope to offer the testing district-wide in two years.