Inlander: To Screen or Not To? | Why Washington could soon be compelled to screen more children for lead exposure

Inlander: To Screen or Not To? | Why Washington could soon be compelled to screen more children for lead exposure

By Jake Thomas

Sherry Miller has 11 grandchildren and has worked in Head Start programs. So she knew from her young granddaughter’s “anger button” and speech delay that she wasn’t developing normally. Two years ago, Miller had her then-2-year-old granddaughter (who had come live with her in Kalispell, Montana) screened for lead exposure. The results revealed that the lead in the old house in Spokane where she used to live had poisoned her.


The unfolding public health crisis in Flint, Michigan, has brought national attention to the dangers of lead poisoning. Here in Washington, proponents of more screening say that the state doesn’t know for sure how big of a problem lead exposure is. If the state does come into compliance, they say it could reveal ongoing problems.

“[Washington has] a lot of catching up to do,” says Wayne Turner, a staff attorney at the National Health Law Program, of the state’s lack of screening. “We either do this now or we do this later, because the effects of lead last for a lifetime.” Read the full article here » 

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