MAYVILLE - Nearly half a million children living in the United States have elevated blood lead levels that may cause significant damage to their health, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The estimate is based on children with a blood lead level of 5 micrograms per deciliter or higher using data from national surveys conducted in 2007-2008 and 2009-2010.
Major sources of lead exposure to U.S. children 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.
Despite the continued presence of lead in the environment, lead poisoning is entirely preventable.
"Lead poisoning continues to be a threat in Chautauqua County," said Christine Schuyler, County Public Health Director. "Lead exposure can lead to a variety of health problems in young children, including reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height and impaired hearing. At higher levels, lead can damage a child's kidneys and central nervous system and even result in coma and death. Lead can also harm babies before they are born," added Schuyler.
To increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning prevention, the Chautauqua County Department, along with federal and state agencies, is participating in National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) Oct. 2127.
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, events such as state proclamations, free screenings, lead-awareness community events, and educational campaigns will be conducted nationwide.
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. Even if your young children seem healthy, ask your doctor to test them for lead.
3. Get the facts. The Health Department can provide you with helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning.
For more information, contact Chautauqua County Department at 1-866-604-6789 or call 1-800-424-LEAD.