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Stigma Hampers Kids’ Blood Testing

Stigmas associated with “being leaded” discourage parents living in the Bunker Hill Superfund site from getting their children tested for lead exposure, says a new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Parents felt “blame, shame and guilt” if their kids had elevated blood-lead levels, the research indicated. They also feared that a child identified as having a high blood-lead level would become a target of public ridicule. “Being leaded” is a derogatory term in the Silver Valley, where some families have worked in the mining industry for five or six generations. Anonymity is difficult in small towns, and kids with high blood-lead levels could be stigmatized, the study said/Becky Kramer, SR. More here.

  • Shane Stancik watches his son, 3-year-old Shane Jr., play in front of their Silver Valley home Tuesday. Stancik participated in a study about attitudes toward blood-lead testing. He wants to make regular screening for his son a priority. (SR Photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Question: Do you know Silver Valley people who are 'leaded'? Can you understand why parents would be reluctant to seek blood tests for their kids as a result of the stigma?

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D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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