Nearly a quarter of a million children living in the United States have blood lead levels high enough to cause significant damage to their health, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based on data from a 2003–2004 national survey. Major sources of lead exposure among U.S. children are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings.
Despite the continued presence of lead in the environment, lead poisoning is entirely preventable. “Parents need to talk with their health care provider about having their child tested at ages 1 and 2 years,” stated Dennis Norfleet, MD, Public Health Director for Oswego County.
In addition Dr. Norfleet gave the following tips:
• Keep the area where your children play as dust-free and clean as possible.
• Report chipped or cracked paint to your landlord if you live in an older home built before 1978.
• Make sure your children do not chew on painted surfaces, such as toys or window sills.
To increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning prevention, the Oswego County Health Department along with the 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 (NLPPW) October 23–29.
This year’s NLPPW 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.
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:
1. Get the Facts! The Oswego County Health Department can provide you with helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning. Call 349-3547 or visit www.oswegocounty.com.
2. Get Your Home Tested. Before you buy an older home, ask for a lead inspection.
3. Get Your Child Tested. Even if your young children seem healthy, ask your doctor to test them for lead.