(WHTM) — Pennsylvania’s Department of Health is encouraging parents to have their children’s blood lead levels tested during this year’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, which runs from Oct. 22 to Oct. 28, 2023.

“Lead is not natural to the human body and even low levels in children have a lasting impact. The only way to identify exposure is by testing the blood,” said Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Debra Bogen. “That is why as a pediatrician, I urge all families to have their children tested for lead exposure, per CDC recommendations. Early identification can prevent the most serious effects, so all children can reach their full potential.”

According to the department, the most common source of lead exposure in children is in the form of lead-based paint. This paint is typically found in homes built before 1978. Over time, the plant can turn into dust and position both children and adults when they swallow or breathe it in.

The Department of Health provides resources to families to prevent and address elevated blood lead levels. You can see those resources here.

Through the federally funded Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP), the department works collaboratively with a few local county and municipal health departments, including one in York County. It is in place to reduce lead exposure and promote childhood lead poisoning prevention.

The department maintains a toll-free lead information hotline (1-800-440-LEAD) to provide information about lead poisoning prevention, testing, follow-up, and local resources.