The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly half a million children living in the United States have elevated blood lead levels that may cause significant health problems. This estimate uses the new lower blood lead level standard set by the CDC in 2012. In Onondaga County, more than 9% of children tested in 2012 had high blood lead levels. Major sources of lead exposure in children residing in Onondaga County include lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings. The good news is that childhood lead poisoning is entirely preventable.
To raise awareness of childhood lead poisoning prevention, the Onondaga County Health Department (OCHD) is joining our state and federal partners to promote National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) October 20-26th, 2013. This year’s theme, “Lead Free Kids for a Healthy Future” reinforces the importance of testing your home for lead, testing your child for lead, and learning how to prevent lead poisoning.
Onondaga County Health Commissioner, Dr. Cynthia Morrow explained, “The most important thing we can do to prevent childhood lead exposure is to treat the source of the problem, which is often in the home.” Morrow emphasized that there are many ways families can reduce a child’s exposure to lead and encourages following these simple steps to protect your family:
- Get your home tested for lead. If you rent your home, call the Onondaga County Health Department to learn about getting a free lead home inspection.
- Get a lead home inspection before buying an older home (pre-1978). Home repair grants are available to remove lead from homes for residents of both the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County.
- Get your child tested. Have your child tested at age 1 and again at 2. Even if your children seem healthy, ask your doctor to test them for lead.
- Get the facts! The OCHD Lead Program can provide you with helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning by calling 435-3271, visiting www.ongov.net/health, or finding us on Facebook www.facebook.com/ongovhealth.