Benton Harbor holds blood lead testing site for community members during water crisis

NOW: Benton Harbor holds blood lead testing site for community members during water crisis

BENTON HARBOR, Mich -- Community members lined up for hours waiting to be tested for lead in their system as the water crisis continues in Benton Harbor.

"We have been being notified for a number of years," said Berrien County Commissioner Mamie Yarbrough. "Living in the city of Benton Harbor you get mail and it says boil your water or don’t drink or a number of things."

Some residents said they had no idea it was a problem, until the news of this latest crisis.

"When I read and see things where people say they never knew or never heard of this, I think, where have you been?," said Yarbrough.

While commissioner Yarbrough doesn’t believe it’s the communities fault for not knowing, she’s advocating for her community to get tested.

"One of the things that was important to me was to make sure that during this time was that the led testing would be provided," said Pastor of Second Baptist Church Kenneth Robinson.

Organizers and community leaders advocating for people to come out and take advantage of these resources.

"We’re getting water, we’re getting filters, but we want to make sure that the residents of Benton Harbor do not have lead in their systems," said Robinson.

While lead exposure is dangerous for everyone health experts say it's crucial for kids under the age of 6 and senior citizens to catch it early on.

"Led is serious. You know it’s just like anything other sickness. Especially with elders and children you understand?" said Benton Harbor resident Vania Burton-Jackson.

"I’m a senior. I have a lot of friends that are senior citizens. I have lived here all my life and so if from this event or from over a period of time it’s happened, I need to know," said Yarbrough.

Neighbors say they strongly encourage the community to get out and get tested, regardless of age, and even if they don’t believe they’ve used the water enough to be impacted by it.

"Come on out. If you feel like you got it. If you feel like you got some sickness or stomach problem or headache problem, come check. You never know you might be good you might not. You never know," said Jackson.

If you did not make it Sunday, there will be free testing available from 12 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at the Discovery Enrichment Center.

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