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Tucson program offers free lead testing, as more than 12 ZIP codes are considered high risk

Published: Wednesday, November 8, 2023 - 1:31pm

Tucson officials are running a program to test old homes in the city for lead contamination.

Lead exposure can cause damage to the kidneys, brain and blood cells. For years, it was used in homebuilding products like paint, pipes and faucets.

Those products were banned in the 1970s and '80s. But homes in Tucson and around the U.S. that predate that mandate could still have them. A 2021 report from the state health department identified more than two dozen Tucson ZIP codes as being high risk for lead poisoning. 

City water officials and the hospital network El Rio Health are using a federal grant to test some old homes for lead and provide mitigation. Residents must meet certain income requirements and be in homes built before 1978 to qualify.

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