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Free blood tests for Sandy residents show good results after lead contamination in water

Posted at 10:38 AM, Feb 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-24 16:47:11-05

SANDY, Utah -- Hundreds of Sandy residents visited Intermountain Healthcare this past weekend for blood tests after learning their water was contaminated. 

“It’s scary,” said Michael Peterson, a Sandy resident with two little kids. “We wanted to be safe.”

They’re not the only family with concerns. 

Salt Lake City Health Department employees took almost 400 calls between Friday and Saturday, scheduling free blood tests offered by Intermountain Health Care.

“We’re doing it to help those residents who have really been through a lot, have some peace of mind,” said Nicholas Rupp, a spokesperson for the SLC Health Department. 

You can imagine why some peace of mind was needed after normal levels of lead and copper in their water was found to be 20 times what’s considered safe exposure.

 “It can cause some developmental issues, lowered IQ and the only way to know if you’re exposed or if you have that problem is to get tested,” said Rupp. 

Even with such extreme levels of exposure in the Sandy Water, Rupp said it’s unlikely anyone will test positive for elevated blood lead levels.

“It generally takes weeks and weeks of that exposure to elevated lead for it to show on a blood test,” said Rupp.

The Peterson family test results came out negative but said it was still worth going in. 

“I think coming in and getting tested gives us a peace of mind even though we haven’t had symptoms since we flushed our water,” said Erin Peterson, who is married to Michael.

The free blood tests were only offered over the weekend, but health officials said to reach out to a primary care doctor if you are a resident in the affected area.