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Notre Dame professor worries FDA lead test recall will discourage parents

FDA recalls lead test, 7 million kids nationwide may be at risk. // WSBT 22

Lead is a problem we talk about a lot in St. Joseph County.

For as many as 7 million kids nationwide, a test that looks for that deadly element didn't do its job.

The FDA recalled a test created by Magellan Diagnostics.

The FDA says that test is faulty and the test produces falsely low results.

Lead poisoning prevention experts in our area say, if you have any doubts about your blood lead test results, get retested.

Those experts are concerned about what effect a recall like this could have on future testing.

"Lead poisoning is a very scary subject because it affects the youngest population the most," said Graham Peaslee, Notre Dame lead information team.

Babies younger than 2-years-old are most susceptible to a whole host of problems.

"Lower cognitive abilities, attention deficit and there's even the suggestion that, it's a pretty strong correlation with violent crime 20 years later," said Peaslee.

Peaslee said testing children's blood for lead is the best way to keep lead exposure from getting worse.

Around 7 million parents may have false hope that their kids are fine.

An FDA Safety Communication says "Magellan Diagnostics' LeadCare Testing Systems may underestimate blood lead levels and give inaccurate results when processing venous blood samples. Falsely lower test results may lead to improper patient management and treatment for lead exposure and poisoning."

Peaslee said a recall like this could have a chilling effect.

"The idea that this test failed for one particular brand is unfortunate because then it turns everybody off, so 'I don't believe my test results,’" said Peaslee.

There is some good news. Two major health systems in our area that offer blood lead testing, Lakeland Health and the South Bend Medical Foundation do not use Magellan equipment.

In a statement, the Medical Foundation says "Our medical laboratory scientists use a methodology called inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). This testing provides very accurate and sensitive results even at very low levels."

Peaslee said if you have any doubts, get your kid re-tested.

"You cannot underestimate what the effect will be on a child if they're exposed to lead and the heartbreak it brings to a parent to realize, 'wow if I’d had that test done last year would I have avoided any of the problems I might be facing?'" said Peaslee.

Peaslee said even though there's less lead in our environment, you can still be exposed.

He says older homes often have lead paint.

There's also a chance that old leaded gasoline leaked into your soil and was tracked into your home.

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