OSWEGO, NY – According to data from a 2003-2004 national survey, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates nearly a quarter of a million children living in the U.S. have blood lead levels high enough to cause significant damage to their health. The major source of lead exposure among U.S. children is lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings.
Despite the continued presence of lead in the environment today, lead poisoning is entirely preventable.
To increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning prevention, the Oswego County Health Department is participating in National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week Oct. 19 to 25, along with CDC, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
This yearÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s theme, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œLetÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Wipe Out Lead Poisoning-Renovate RightÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â underscores the importance of preventing lead exposure through lead-safe work practices to prevent lead poisoningÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s serious health effects, such as brain damage, learning and behavior problems or even death.
This yearÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s theme also highlights EPAÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s new rule for contractors that conduct renovations, repairs, and painting activities.
There are many ways parents can reduce a childÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s exposure to lead.
First and foremost, hazards in a childÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s environment must be identified and controlled or removed safely.
Sources of lead include dust and chips from paint in homes built before 1978; soil; various imported goods, such as toys, Mexican candy, traditional ceramics, and childrenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s jewelry.
Health officials recommend the following:
Wash childrenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s hands often, especially before eating and before bed time.
Wash toys, pacifiers and bottles often, even if they donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t look dirty; and
Mop floors often with a damp mop, and use damp cloths to clean windowsills.
You can also help protect your children from lead by serving foods rich in calcium, iron, and vitamin C.
More information about preventing childhood lead poisoning is available from the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3547, or by visiting the CDC Web site at