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 (CDC). In Onondaga County, approximately 7% of children tested for lead in 2014 had high blood lead levels. The good news is that childhood lead poisoning is entirely preventable!
To increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning prevention, the Onondaga County Health Department (OCHD) along with the CDC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is participating in National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) October 25-31. This year’s NLPPW theme, “Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future,” reinforces the importance of testing your child for lead, testing your home for lead, using lead safe work practices during renovation or repairs, and using lead certified contractors for home repairs in order to prevent lead poisoning.
Dr. Indu Gupta, Onondaga County Health Commissioner states, “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 child’s home. The major sources of childhood lead exposure in Onondaga County are lead-based paint and lead dust found in older homes”. Dr. Gupta 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 child tested. Have your child tested at age 1 and again at age 2. Even if your child seems healthy, ask your doctor to do a blood lead test.
- Get your home tested for lead. If you rent your home, call the OCHD Lead Program to ask about getting a free lead home inspection.
- Get information on safely removing lead paint from your older home (pre-1978). Home repair grants are available to remove lead from homes in the city of Syracuse and throughout Onondaga County. Hiring a contractor? Choose only contractors with Lead Safe Worker training and certification.
Get the facts! The Lead Program can provide more information on how to prevent childhood lead poisoning. Call 435-3271, email us at LeadFreeKids@ongov.net, or visit
www.ongov.net/health, and find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ongovhealth.