The Onondaga County Health Department and several community partners hosted a “Close the Window on Childhood Lead Poisoning” education forum earlier today. The forum featured local experts who described the strategies Onondaga County health officials and key community partners are utilizing to prevent childhood lead poisoning by addressing the issue at its source – poorly maintained housing built before 1978. Speakers provided the latest information on the Health Department’s response to children identified with an elevated blood lead test result, and community-wide efforts to improve housing conditions through partnership, improved enforcement strategies, and financial resources for property owners.
Dr. Indu Gupta, Onondaga County Health Commissioner, gave an overview of childhood lead poisoning in Onondaga County. “Onondaga County and the city of Syracuse have old housing stock built before 1978 that is likely to contain lead paint. As long as we have older housing in our community, we will need to be diligent in monitoring children’s health and improving the prevention of childhood lead poisoning through a housing-based approach.”
Dr. Howard Weinberger from the Central/Eastern New York Regional Lead Prevention Center at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital stated “It is critically important that every health care provider test all children in their practice at age 1 and 2 and complete an annual risk assessment screening until the child is six years old. Only by testing can we identify children who may be in need of intervention to prevent lasting health impacts from lead exposure.”
Those in attendance at today’s forum included county and city government officials, representatives of various health and housing agencies, community-based organizations, and neighborhood advocacy groups.
Following the expert speakers, participants visited informational table displays to get more information on child blood lead testing requirements, recognizing lead-based paint hazards, and simple strategies that can be used to minimize the risk of exposure to household lead-based paint and dust in older homes.
For more information about lead poisoning prevention visit www.ongov.net/health/lead/.