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Free blood tests detect lead poisoning

Free blood lead testing is being offered in Duluth on Wednesday for individuals who are at risk for lead poisoning.

The tests will be given from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Myers-Wilkins Elementary School, 1027 N. Eighth Ave. E. They’re available for children younger than 6 and for pregnant or nursing women. Educational materials about the dangers of lead and how to reduce lead hazards at home also will be offered.

The service is offered by the Sustainable Resources Center in partnership with Duluth Healthy Homes Partnership, which includes the American Lung Association in Minnesota.

In a news release, the lung association noted that childhood lead exposure remains a significant problem in Minnesota. Lead can be found in the air, soil, dust and paint of homes and buildings built before 1978.

In children, lead poisoning damages the brain, kidneys and central nervous system and causes developmental, speech, language and behavioral problems. In pregnant women, it can lead to miscarriages, premature births, brain damage and low birth weight.