Parents in five Carroll County communities must have their young children tested for lead exposure before enrolling them in school this fall, state officials announced.
Children who live or have lived in Upperco, Keymar, New Windsor, Union Bridge and Taneytown must undergo blood tests to determine whether they have been exposed to lead.
The state requirement affects only children entering pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade. Children who test positive for lead exposure are allowed to enroll in school, but state officials are asking physicians to encourage parents to seek medical treatment for their children.
"We would never exclude a child based on lead levels," said Marge Hoffmaster, supervisor of health services for Carroll County schools. "Because of the learning difficulties and other health consequences of lead poisoning, the goal is to make sure that children who are at risk are identified so that further exposure can be limited, as well as the medical consequences from it," she said.
School officials are required to notify the county Health Department if a parent enrolls a child who has not been tested for lead exposure, Hoffmaster said.