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The City of Milwaukee opens free lead testing clinics for concerned parents

NOW: The City of Milwaukee opens free lead testing clinics for concerned parents

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The city of Milwaukee sent out thousands of letters notifying parents that their children have elevated levels of lead they should be concerned about. 

In order to make sure parents follow up when necessary, the city opened three free lead testing clinics this week. 

Turn out was very low at the Southside Health Center for the lead testing because many parents did not know it was available. 

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he's confident that all parents should receive their letters by Tuesday at the latest. 

Joanna Bosch came to the center to get her children vaccinated, but her attention quickly shifted to lead testing when she heard about the concerns on the news. 

"This is a wake-up call, not just to me but to everybody in general," Bosch said. "Everybody drinks water everywhere."

Bosch decided to get her children tested out of an abundance of caution. 

"I do care about my kids, their health and well-being and everything," Bosch said. "If we would have known about it sooner I would have maybe bought more bottles of water, filter or whatever I had to do to watch my kids."

This is one of three free clinics the city opened this week that now offers the free lead testing after it was discovered that thousands of letters informing families about their children's elevated lead levels may not have been sent out within the last three years. 

Barrett says the letters should have been sent out. 

"I was unhappy that we were unable to confirm that these letters had been sent to these families," Barrett said. 

Barrett says he's encouraging every parent who has a child with elevated lead levels to follow up with their physician or at the free clinics.

 "Most importantly, we want three tests before a child turns three," Barrett said. 

Tiffany Barta, the director of nursing for Milwaukee's Health Department says if tests confirm high lead levels, necessary action can be taken. 

"Anywhere from a telephone visit to a home visit to a developmental screening," Barta said. 

The city of Milwaukee also opened a hotline that parents can call if they have concerns. The phone number is (414) 286-8800. 

Free clinic locations and hours:

Southside Health Center -- 1639 S. 23rd Street (Tuesday: 1-4 p.m.)

Northwest Health Center -- 7630 W. Mill Road (Wednesday: 3-6 p.m.)

Keenan Health Center -- 3200 N. 36th Street (Friday: 8-11 a.m.)


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