Mercy Health's Lead Poison Prevention Program will be offering free lead testing for children with the goal of protecting children from the risks of lead exposure.

The testing will be for children between the ages of one and five years old and will take place between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. and again from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Warren City Health District (258, E. Market St. Suite 327, Warren) on Monday, September 26.

A parent or guardian must be present and must bring their child's social security number, insurance identification and their physicians name. No appointment is necessary.

Lead poisoning is still prevalent, especially in older neighborhoods. The CDC predicts over half a million children between the ages of one and five years old have blood lead levels high enough to damage their health.

The main source of lead exposure in children is from eating lead paint chips or inhaling lead dust. Other sources of lead could be occupational take home lead exposure, water, herbs/spices, toys, cosmetics and folk remedies. The exposure is often built up over months or even years.

Children three years old and under, as well as unborn babies are the most at risk. There is no safe level of lead and it can permanently damage the brain, nervous system and kidneys.

Additionally, it can cause developmental delay, speech and language delay, hearing loss, learning disabilities, hyperactivity/ADHD and can even be fatal.

Pregnant women and unborn children can also be at risk if exposed to lead during pregnancy. This could result in a higher-than-normal chance of a baby being premature or having a miscarriage.

There are often no signs of lead poisoning, so the only way to know if your child has been exposed to lead is to do a blood test.