Claremont to Weigh Opt-Out Option on Lead-Testing in Schools

Oct 11, 2017

As part of ongoing efforts to increase lead testing rates in the city, Claremont offered free lead screenings at its back-to-school fair this year.
Credit Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

After starting a first-of-its-kind lead-testing program in its schools, Claremont may soon allow parents to opt-out of the requirements. The city launched the program, which requires lead tests for all incoming kindergarten and pre-k students, this year.

Claremont is one of several high-risk communities for lead poisoning in the state, largely because of its old housing stock.

But at least one community member has raised concerns that parents can't sign a waiver to opt-out of the testing requirement, as is allowed for certain vaccinations.

School Board Chair Brian Rapp says the board will consider revisions to the policy at its meeting later this month.

“We're the first in the state to have a lead-testing policy and, as with anything, there will be hiccups and tweaks that have to be made,” he said.

He added that students would not be turned away simply because they don't have a lead test on file. 

In recent years, lead testing rates in Claremont have been well below recommendations set by public health officials. Lead is a neurotoxin and can cause learning difficulties and behavioral change.