Lancaster General Health to lead a program to stop lead poisoning

Lead free families

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Lancaster General Health is looking to put a stop to a silent killer: lead poisoning. It is one that’s putting more and more kids in the hospital.

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“With a historic city comes historic challenges, and this is one of them,” Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace said.

Lead poisoning has been a longstanding issue in Lancaster county. It is one that Columbia resident Mary Hogentogler discovered firsthand. A recent screening in her home did find elevated levels of lead.

“My grandbaby is in that room and what if he picks it up and puts in his mouth or the dust gets on his toys or on him. I don’t know if it goes in that way or eating it, but it worried me,” Mary Hogentogler, Columbia resident.

Lead issues are most often found in homes built before 19-78 when lead paints were banned— and that’s a problem here because the Midstate has a lot of older homes. Ingesting even a small amount, from peeling or chipping paint, could lead to lifelong developmental issues, including slowed growth.

“When you hear those statistics, they said today that once you get it, you can’t do anything about it and how they can affect you in so many ways, the learning,” Mary Hogentogler, Columbia resident, said.

That’s why Lancaster General Health is launching Lead-Free Families, a 50-million-dollar program aimed at tackling this problem head-on. It starts with identifying 2,800 homes in the county that could contain lead.

“Our concern about lead poisoning is it’s a silent epidemic. We don’t know until we test the lead levels in the children and test homes for lead of what the impact could be,” Dr. Michael Ripchinski, LGH Chief Clinical Officer, said.

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