Palmerton Area Residents Receive Free Screening to Test for Lead in Blood


PALMERTON, CARBON COUNTY(WBRE/WYOU-TV) – At least four million households across the country have children living in them who are being exposed to high levels of lead.

That lead can result in long term heatlh problems – so officials went on an education swing today.

Palmerton Area Junior High School was filled with community members Saturday afternoon who all share one thing in common – concern about lead exposure.

“We have young children and we know that lead can be hearmful especially as children are growing up,” said Palmerton Resident, Clare Papay.

“We wanted to proactively respond to those concerns,” said Dave Pidgeon with the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The Pennsylvania Department of health provided free screenings to the community..specifically looking for levels of lead in blood.

This follows a recent federal study showing the community may have been exposed to lead from air pollution in Palmerton.

“With them cleaning up and adding more and tossing the dirt around and ading this extra dirt in, I really wasn’t surpirsed,” said Palmerton Resident, Lydia Shotwell.

Lydia Shotwell has been an area resident nearly her entire life.

She tells Eyewitness News she decided to come get her free screening for a number of reasons.

“Being pregnant is my number one reason why I came out. Also I have MS and since I’ve been diagnosed I have found 15-20 other people in the area that also have MS which kind of seems odd. They are all Palmerton natives and I’ve always tossed around the possibilty that there might be a lake,” said Shotwell.

“Lead exposure can cause serious consequences to organs like your kidneys, your brain, your nervous system. For pregnant women or women who want to be pregnant this could have serious consequences,” said Pidgeon.

The community is being screened for lead from potential environmental factors – soil and water pollution getting into locally grown food.

The process is simple – all it takes is about five to 10 minutes of a nurse taking a sample of your blod which will then go to the lab and get tested.

“It was great a really quick and easy process and everybody has been really friendly so we’re glad that we stopped by,” said Papay.

The community tells me no matter what their results are..they hope something will be done about the toxic chemical element.

“Peace of mind will be when they clear it all out,” said Shotwell.

According to the state department of health, it will take a week or two to get the results back.

Once they’re in, each person will be contacted on what their results are.

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