COVID-19 is a new and scary public health threat, but lead poisoning has been a more constant health threat in poor communities, like Chester, Pa.

On Tuesday, Dec. 21, Keystone First, the largest Medicaid health plan in southeastern Pennsylvania, joined forces with the ‘Delaware County Lead Poisoning Prevention Coalition’ and ‘Children First: The Advocate for Kids’ to host a lead screening and lead prevention education session for local families at Keystone First Wellness and Opportunity Center, 1929 W. 9th Street, Chester.

Young children living at or below the federal poverty level (over 30% of Chester’s residents) and those who live in older housing (most of Chester’s housing) are at a greater risk for exposure to lead. 

Even low lead levels in the blood have been shown to affect children’s IQ, ability to pay attention and their academic achievement. 

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the state Department of Human Services (DHS) have stringent requirements for lead toxicity screening for all Medicaid-eligible children.

Not as many families showed up as they would have liked, but it was a great start and are planning additional testing dates at the Chester Wellness Center in January.