OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego County Health Department, together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, reminds residents to observe National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week from October 21 to 27 and have your home and child tested for lead.
This year’s theme, “Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future,” underscores the importance of testing your home, testing your child, and learning how to prevent lead poisoning’s serious health effects, which include permanent learning and behavioral problems.
The CDC estimates that nearly half a million children living in the United States have elevated blood lead levels that may cause significant damage to their health.
The estimate is based on children with a blood lead level of 5 micrograms per deciliter (mg/dl) or higher using data from national surveys conducted from 2007 to 2008 and from 2009 to 2010.
“The county health department’s Preventive Nursing Division will investigate any report of a blood lead level of 10 mg/dl,” said Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. “Also, our Environmental Division will conduct home assessments with reported blood lead levels of 15 mg/dl or higher.”
Major sources of lead exposure to children include lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in buildings that were built before 1978.
Children can also be exposed to lead from contaminated drinking water, take-home exposures from a workplace, and lead in soil.
Huang added, “Despite the continued presence of lead in the environment, lead poisoning is entirely preventable and early testing can help prevent permanent harm.”
Parents can reduce a child’s exposure to lead in many ways.
Here are some simple things you can do to help protect your family:
Get your Home Tested! Before you buy an older home, ask for a lead inspection.
Get your Child Tested! Every child should be tested at age one and again at age two. Ask your doctor to test them for lead, even if your child seems healthy.
Get the Facts! Your local health department can provide you with helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning.
For more information about lead poisoning prevention, call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3547; visit the CDC’s Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/; or contact the U.S. EPA at 1-800-424-LEAD or http://www.epa.gov/lead/