BALTIMORE (WJZ) — High levels of lead in Baltimore has resulted in lead poisoning cases popping up across the City for decades.

While the City Health Department has long been working to reduce the poisoning, it launched a new campaign Wednesday to try to get more children tested for lead.

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Health Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa said Wednesday that just over 50 percent of the City’s children between the ages of one and two have been tested for it.

“We believe that testing for half our children is not enough so we’re here today to renew our commitment and increase our testing numbers,” the commissioner said.

In addition to the new emphasis on testing, the health department will also work to give resources on lead poisoning to pediatricians and launch an MTA campaign next month- which will target bus shelters and neighborhoods with a high prevalence of lead poisoning.

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The goal is to educate residents on the effects of lead.

“Lead poisoning is a serious problem that can cause learning disabilities, behavior problems and at a very high level, seizures, coma and even death,” said Mayor Jack Young.

If a child’s blood level is high, city officials will step in, visit the home of the child, find the source of the lead paint and then work with a property owner to address the issue.

“We make sure that the child is in a safe environment, we give them the resources they need and the understanding as to how they get that blood level down as quickly as possible,” said assistant commissioner for Chronic Disease Prevention Greg Sileo.

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Health experts said the key is to prevent lead poisoning before it happens because it can have irreversible effects which is why they are trying to be more proactive about this issue.

Stetson Miller