Flint crisis revives lead concern in WNY

Posted at 11:31 PM, Jan 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-22 06:58:42-05

The recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan has many people thinking about the high levels of lead that have been historically found in Buffalo.

Doctors say we don’t have a reason to worry about lead in our water, like what’s happening in Flint but we do need to pay close attention to our old homes and aging infrastructure.

“Buffalo is one of the worst areas in the country and New York State specifically that has children with elevated lead levels,” said Dr. Melinda Cameron, a local Pediatrician and the Director of the Western New York Lead Prevention and Resource Center.

She says lead levels in children in our area come from hand to mouth activity, when they may be playing with peeling or chipping paint, or be exposed to dust.

Dr. Cameron made it clear, it’s not in our water supply. “Our water is hard. It has a lot of minerals. As it passes through the pipes, it does not pick up lead, even if there were lead in the pipes."

It’s state law that doctors screen children for lead in the first two years of a child’s life. Screening consists of a blood test or finger prick.

After that, a child should be screened if their parent feels they may have come in contact with some sort of lead based paint. This could happen during your average home renovation.

“If the lead is behind doors and is not exposed, you can expose it during the renovations by doing improper sanding,” said Cameron.

The Erie County Health Department has a lot of information about lead and lead poisoning on their website.




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