OSWEGO – Nearly half a million children living in the United States have elevated blood lead levels (5 micrograms per deciliter or higher) that may cause significant damage to their health, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Major sources of lead exposure to U.S. children include lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in deteriorating buildings.
Children can also be exposed to lead from additional sources including contaminated drinking water, take-home exposures from a workplace, and lead in soil.
“Despite the continued presence of lead in the environment, lead poisoning is entirely preventable,” stated Jiancheng Huang, Public Health Director for Oswego County.
To increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning prevention, the Oswego County Health Department, along with CDC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is participating in National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week October 25-31.
This year’s theme, “Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future,” underscores the importance of testing your child and learning how to prevent lead poisoning’s serious health effects.
“Children can develop behavior and learning problems, such as hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems, and aggressive patterns of behavior,” added Huang.
Stopping a child’s exposure to lead from leaded paint, house dust, or any other source is the best way to prevent the harmful effects of lead.
Parents can reduce a child’s exposure to lead in many ways. Here are some simple things parents can do to help protect their family:
– Get your child tested. Talk to your healthcare provider about getting your children tested at age 1 and 2.
– Get your home tested. Before you buy an older home, ask for a lead inspection.
– Remodeling the home? Renovate right with lead-safe work practices.
– Remove and discard recalled toys and toy jewelry from your home.
– Get the Facts! Your local health department can provide you with helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning.
For more information, contact the Oswego County Health Department Preventive Nursing at 315-349-3547 or the Environmental Division at 315-349-3557.