WIC expands lead testing to Marion, Mon County offices

WIC expands lead testing to Marion, Mon County offices

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WBOY) — With assistance from a grant, West Virginia WIC—a program meant to improve the health of women, infants and children—is hoping to expand this service throughout the state.

After receiving a $50,000 grant from the West Virginia Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program through the CDC, WIC is now able to expand its lead testing services to Marion and Monongalia County offices for the next year.

Lead testing has been offered in the Harrison County WIC office for two years now due to the concern of lead levels from aged water pipes throughout the region.

Testing consists of a quick prick of your pointer finger which is processed for about three minutes before results are readily available. As of recently, WIC can now bill your insurance for lead testing, although if you are without, the grant will cover the costs of your test.

12 News spoke with registered nutritionist and WIC nutritionist supervisor, Jason Nguyen, on why these counties were selected.

“There is some data that shows Marion County in particular has higher lead levels in homes via paint, and so Mon County—just made sense to include them as well because they’re one of our busier counties. We have the staff and ability to test there, but we may be able to expand the testing across the state,” said Nguyen.

Although children are most at risk for lead exposure, everyone is encouraged to test. High rates of lead exposure can cause life-long irreversible issues with development, behavior and learning disabilities.

Nguyen advised that some of the best ways to reduce rates of lead in your bloodstream include eating more fruits and vegetables and foods with vitamin C, calcium and iron.

Lead testing will begin on Aug. 1 for the Marion County WIC office and Aug. 2 for Monongalia County.

June was also the first month those who receive WIC assistance are able to use their dollar amounts for fruits and vegetables at farmer’s markets.