Blood lead level testing starts today in Greater Trail

Two blood clinics planned for today and Friday this week, and two more Oct. 2-3 (all 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Let the testing begin.

The next round of blood lead level clinics has descended on the Greater Trail region, with two clinics planned for today and Friday this week, and two more Oct. 2-3 (all 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Trail lead health service coordinator Jeannine Stefani said parents should bring in kids between the ages of six months and three years old who live and spend the majority of their days in the Trail or Rivervale area.

As well, any preschool kids living in a recently renovated home in the Greater Trail area—from Fruitvale to Rossland—is encouraged to be tested.

“Because there is lead exposure in the lead paint in the older homes,” she said. “We are trying to get as many as we can because we are trying to figure out the average.”

She also encouraged people who live in Trail to bring in their children aged six months to five years old. Parents wishing to book an appointment can contact Stefani at 364-6223.

In the latest report from the Trail Health and Environment Committee, “Fall 2011 Blood Lead Results,” the percentage of children aged six months to three years in Trail and Rivervale with a microgram of lead per deciliter of blood (ug/dL) lower than 10 was 92 per cent—three percentage points off of the 95 percentile they are seeking and two per cent better than 2010.

In 2011, for children under three years of age, the percentage of children at or above 10 ug/dL was eight per cent, only one per cent were at 15 ug/dL and nobody at 20 ug/dL.

In 1989, less than 20 per cent of local preschoolers had blood-lead levels below the level of concern (10).

Blood lead levels greater than 10 (ug/dL) are levels at which Centre for Disease Control and Prevention would recommend public health actions be initiated.

In all, 151 children from six months to five years old were tested at the B.C. Children’s Hospital lab in 2011. Of these, 106 were the target age group of kids, six months to three years in Trail and Rivervale

The previous goal of the program was to have 90 per cent of children under 10 ug/dL, which the program has met, said Stefani. The new goal set last year was to have 95 per cent of target children under 10 ug/dL by 2015.

The community program—delivered by Teck, Interior Health and the Ministry of Environment—noticed in 2010 that blood-lead levels in Trail area toddlers living near Teck Trail Operations stopped improving and plans for further decreases were focused through more cuts to smelter emissions as well as community management efforts.

Recently the Center for Disease Control and Prevention—that sets public health policy and practice on acceptable lead levels—increased its national standards to a blood-lead level of five micrograms per deciliter of blood (mg/dl), down from 10.