Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is October 19-25
October 14, 2003
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More than 700 Contra Costa children have been identified as having unsafe levels of lead in their blood.
To draw attention to the continuing problem of childhood lead poisoning in Contra Costa County, the Board of Supervisors is proclaiming October 19-25, 2003 as Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. Because more than half of Contra Costa homes are old enough to have lead paint, one of the main goals of Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is to encourage parents of all high-risk children under age six to get their kids tested.
"A blood test for lead is the only way to find out for sure if your child has lead poisoning," says Gail Doyle, health educator with Contra Costa Health Services' Lead Poisoning Prevention Project (LPPP). She warns that children with lead poisoning can develop problems with learning, growth and behavior.
Doyle says living in or remodeling a pre-1978 home with deteriorating lead-based paint are common risk factors for childhood lead poisoning. According to Doyle, in some local communities, the number of homes old enough to have lead-based paint is more than 90 percent. "When remodeling these old homes or even just doing basic home repair and maintenance, make sure you keep children away from the dust and debris produced by the repair work," she adds.
Doyle says that other lead sources around the home include fishing sinkers, older vinyl mini-blinds, and some ceramic dishware and pots used for cooking and serving food.
To celebrate Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, the LPPP will set up an educational display on Monday, October 20, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the first floor lobby of the Richmond Health Center (39th and Bissell Streets, Richmond). Staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide free lead testing of ceramic dishes, referrals for child lead testing and materials about lead-safe remodeling.
County residents are also invited to call LPPP toll-free at 1-866-FIX-LEAD (1-866-349-5323) or to visit their web page at www.ccprevention.org/groups/lead_prevention/.
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- Vee Ainars
- Gail Doyle