Dozens of families took their children to the Howard School to be tested for lead poisoning.

This comes after officials found dangerous amounts of lead in the soil on Chattanooga's Southside.

"Kids are developing, their brains are developing. Lead is a neurotoxin," UTC professor Dawn Ford told Channel 3.

She says testing is crucial for children who may have been exposed to dangerous amounts of lead.

"Any level of lead could potentially impact a child's health, but the CDC says anything above a 5 should be followed up," Ford explained.

High levels of the toxin found in the soil prompted UTC and the Lions Club to take action.

"So we're doing a finger prick screening and it should be followed up with a Venus sample just to confirm the elevated levels," Ford said.

It was a part of a health fair where several groups spent much of Saturday morning giving free screenings.

The lead screenings were free for children under six. Ford says lead exposure in children often leads to extremely adverse side effects

"It slows development, it impacts things like their behavior and their academic performance and IQ," she went on.

Even something as simple as playing in the dirt outside or consuming chipped paint on a wall can result in a child being exposed.

There were eight neighborhoods affected by soil lead contamination around Chattanooga.

Ford also tells us they are going door-to-door conducting surveys to find out which homes have been affected.