To increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning prevention, the Norwalk Health Department, along with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development is participating in National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) this week (October 19-25). This year’s NLPPW 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.
In observance of NLPPW, the Health Department is displaying information in the waiting room; launching an update to its lead poisoning prevention webpage; and providing tips and information on its Facebook page. In addition to its activities during NLPPW, the Health Department works year-round to help fight lead poisoning, by using trained and certified staff to conduct epidemiological investigations and lead inspections and by educating the community on ways they can prevent lead poisoning, especially in children 6 years of age and younger.
Nearly half a million children living in the United States have elevated blood lead levels that may cause significant damage to their health, according to the CDC. This estimate is based on children with a blood lead level of 5 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL) or higher using data from national surveys conducted in 2007-2008 and 2009-2010. Major sources of lead exposure to children in the United States 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.
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 your Home Tested. Before you buy an older home, ask for a lead inspection.
2. Get your Child Tested. In Connecticut, pediatricians are required to test all children during 1-year-old and 2-year-old well child visits.
3. Ge the Facts! Helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning is available through the Norwalk Health Department at (203) 854-7776 and www.norwalkhealth.com, the Connecticut Department of Public Health Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Program at (860) 509-7299 and www.ct.gov/dph/lead, or the National Lead Information Center at (800) 424-LEAD.