Hundreds of thousands of children living in the country have elevated blood lead levels that may cause significant damage to their health. They can develop behavior and learning problems (such as hyperactivity), slowed growth, hearing problems, and aggressive patterns of behavior. 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.
To raise awareness of the consequences of lead poisoning among parents and pregnant women who live in homes built before 1978, the city’s Lead Hazard Control Program (LHCP) is participating in National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) from Oct. 20-26. LHCP joins the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in encouraging parents to learn more about how to prevent lead poisoning.
The goals of National Lead Poisoning Week are to:
- Raise awareness about lead poisoning
- Stress the importance of screening the highest risk children younger than 6 years of age (preferably by ages 1 and 2)
- Highlight efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning
- Urge people to take steps to reduce lead exposure
This year's NLPPW theme, "Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future," highlights the importance of testing your home, 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. If your home was built before 1978, here are some simple things you can do to help protect your family:
- Mop smooth floors (using a damp mop) weekly to control dust.
- Vacuum carpets and upholstery to remove dust, using a vacuum with a HEPA filter or a “high efficiency” collection bag.
- Take off shoes when entering the house.
- Pick up loose paint chips carefully with a paper towel; wipe the surface clean with a wet paper towel.
- Frequently wash your child’s hands and toys to reduce exposure.
- Get your child tested. Even if your young children seem healthy, ask your doctor to test them for lead.
For more information, contact the city’s Lead Hazard Control Program at 602-534-4444 or call 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).