14 Oct 2009

Northern Marianas starts screening young children for lead poisoning

4:11 pm on 14 October 2009

School children in the Northern Marianas continue to face serious environmental health hazards as a a result of lead exposure.

A new federal memorandum has prompted the education department to ensure there are tests, assessing lead content, in all children under the age of six.

The commissioner of education, Dr Rita Sablan, says lead exposure among children is a serious environmental health hazard for those living in poverty and in young children.

She says the screening procedures, at ten centres on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, are the first such exercises involving CNMI children.

Long-term exposure to even low levels of lead can cause irreversible learning difficulties and delayed neurological and physical development.