Submitted by the Niagara County Health Department
Nearly half a million children living in the U.S. 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 five micrograms per deciliter or higher using data from national surveys conducted in 2007-08 and 2009-10. 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. Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton advised that the Niagara County Department of Health has both nursing and environmental Health lead poisoning prevention programs in place in the county. To increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning prevention, the Niagara County Department of Health, along with CDC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the New York State Department of Health are participating in National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week Oct. 19-25.
This year's NLPPW theme, "Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future," underscores the importance of testing your homes, 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. In Niagara County, our offices at the Trott Building in Niagara Falls, 1001-11th St., will hold an open house in our prevention office, Room D1008, from 10 a.m. until noon Wednesday, Oct. 22, to inform the public and assist with lead poisoning prevention issues.
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 or renovate an older home, ask for a lead inspection.
•Get your child tested. Even if your young children seem healthy, ask your doctor to test them for lead.
•Get the facts. The Niagara County Department of Health can provide you with helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning. Call Environmental Health at 716-278-8588 or the Nursing Division at 716-278-1900.
Further information on childhood lead poisoning prevention can be found online at www.cdc.gov.