Blood screening clinic in Sebring tests for lead

A blood screening clinic is held in Sebring to test for lead.

SEBRING, Ohio (WKBN) – A blood lead screening clinic was held in Sebring on Sunday for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women, who are most at risk for lead poisoning.

The hallway of BL Miller School was full on a weekend, as they waited to get their blood tested for lead.

“It’s all about neurological development and organ development, and those are the growing ages,” said Health Commissioner Patricia Sweeney.

Three-year-old Temperance was the first person to get tested. She’s been drinking Sebring’s water since birth.

“This is a two minute test, so they will have their results when they leave,” Sweeney said.

Temperance had to rub a solution on her hands and wash them, then her finger was pricked. Her mother received the test results right away: Temperance tested negative for lead.

“If it’s below 4.9, then there’s no blood level that we’re concerned about,” Sweeney said.

However, if the blood level is more than five, that person would be referred to a physician for a follow-up.

Cara Grainor and her son, Grayson, were also tested. Grainor breastfeeds her baby, but doesn’t usually drink Sebring’s water.

“I had been drinking it for about a week before we found out, because we had run out of bottles of water and I hadn’t made it down to the store yet,” she said. “I was a little worried.”

Grainor is frustrated that she didn’t know about the problem sooner.

Photos: Timeline of Sebring’s lead levels

“Any other time there was something wrong, they would put a notice on our door and we would go down to the store and get gallons of water,” she said. “This time…why couldn’t you have told us when it first happened?”

Grainor was even more concerned because she didn’t know the effects of lead in the body.

“It’s neurological. Sometimes there’s nausea, vomiting, not as bright, not as active as they have been in the past. So those are usually the kind of symptoms that you see,” Sweeney said.

Grainor and Grayson’s tests also came back negative for lead in the blood. Now she’s on her way home with a list of instructions from the health department.

“They told us that we have to wash our bottles with the distilled water and just not use the tap water to wash his bottles, so we are going to do that,” Grainor said. “Then we have to be careful when we are bathing him, that he doesn’t get it in his eyes or his mouth.”

Sweeney says out of the 176 people who went through the screening, five tested for higher levels of lead in their blood.

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