The Erie County Redevelopment Authority and Department of Health are teaming up to provide free lead screenings for kids ages 5 and younger and those who are pregnant.

Health educators will be at the Erie County Department of Health from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday to answer and provide information about the dangers of lead in children.

According to the DOH, lead is toxic and can harm young children who are still developing. It can cause damage to the brain and nervous system and is commonly found in apartments and single-family homes.

A representative from the redevelopment authority said lead poisoning is not reversible but it’s 100% preventable.

“In Erie County, about 70% of our homes were built over 40 years ago and them problem then was a lot of people use the lead paint products and when those start to chip and peal after years then children can play with them, they can put them in their mouths and they can be exposed to that lead and then develop lead poisoning,” said Laura Beckes, health promotion supervisor at the Erie County Department of Health.

If you were unable to attend the free testing on Thursday, Beckes recommends asking your family doctor for a test.