FORT HOOD, Texas On the heels of a Reuters report that found a number of children tested positive for lead at on-post housing at Fort Benning in Georgia, officials at Fort Hood addressed concerns Tuesday night at an open forum.
The report also found high blood-lead tests for children at Fort Polk in Louisiana, Fort Riley in Kansas, Fort Hood and Fort Bliss.
Fort Hood officials addressed ways to prevent lead exposure, particularly the peeling, cracking or stripping of paint. Those conditions could pose a health hazard.
“I think it’s fair to have concern but it is my job as the Garrison commander to make sure I provide the reassurance and confidence to our residents on the installation,” Col. Henry Perry said.
Officials say nearly 70 percent of homes at Fort Hood were built prior to 1978 --- which is when lead-based paint became banned in household use.
“We continue to take samples. We continue to encapsulate the paint as we change over our residents every two to three years in our homes,” Perry added.
Since 2011, officials say 11,000 blood tests were done on children ages 12 months to 18 months. Only 15 came back positive with only three living on the post.
For mothers, any kind of statistic can be alarming. Several who live on the post addressed concerns during the forum.
“I have two kids. I have a 2-year-old and 6-month-old, so those statistics can be scary for a mom,” Amanda Van Loon said.
To further examine the potential for lead, close to 180 homes will be tested in the future, officials said.
Tests for children are ordered through the child’s primary care manager during their routine 12 to 18 month well-child visit.
In children, lead can cause behavior and learning problems, lower IQ and hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems and anemia. In rare cases, the ingestion of lead can cause seizures, coma and potentially death, health officials said.
Anyone with concerns about the possible exposure to lead should contact their healthcare provider.