Pediatricians concerned for children's health with water issues in Northeast Fresno

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The corrosive water problem affecting homes in Northeast Fresno is raising concerns about lead poisoning. (KFSN)

The corrosive water problem affecting homes in Northeast Fresno is raising concerns about lead poisoning.

In the latest report from the city, about a quarter of the homes tested so far have shown lead levels of above the federal standard.

For pediatricians at Community Regional Medical Centers Childrens Clinic, testing for lead is part of the routine.

Dr. Erica Gastelum explains, "In normal screening we screen anyone who is a year old or 24 months or two-years-old, but a lot of times, during every well child visit your doctor should be asking you if your child is at risk for lead poisoning."

Children at risk include those with lead in the plumbing of their homes.

Higher than recommended levels of lead have been detected in some faucets of 39 of the 260 homes tested so far in Northeast Fresno. One of the faucets in Shann Conners home had nearly 10 times the recommended federal maximum. She said the water was tested by the city of Fresno back in 2005.

"They told me my water was perfectly safe, except for pregnant women and children. And they offered to deliver bottled water to my home, so, of course I took them up on that offer."

But the problem has spread and concerned residents confronted the city council on Thursday. Mary Morisson a nurse from the County Health Department told the council lead had been detected in some children tested in the area.

"Over 900 individuals tested in that area since 2011 and only 29 had a lead level that would require any intervention at all."

There is no way of telling if that lead came from plumbing. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics The most common source is dust and dirt.
But the academy also finds that "there is no identified threshold or safe level of lead in blood."

And Dr. Gasetelum notes, "The symptoms are very vague. That's why it's hard to pinpoint lead as a cause. They could just be feeling generally unwell, they could be having abdominal pain, leg pain, just feeling more tired than usual and not up to par, not able to keep up with their friends at school and daycare."

She recommends anyone concerned about lead poisoning ask their doctor for a simple blood test.

Related Topics:
healthchildren's healthcontaminated waterfresnoFresno - Northeast
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