Lead poisoning, especially among children, is still a problem in the United States. The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is working to increase awareness of the dangers of lead by observing National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, October 25 through the 31st.
This year’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week theme is “Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future” and focuses on the ways parents can reduce a child’s exposure to lead and prevent its serious health effects.
According to the CDC, four million households have children living in them who are being exposed to high levels of lead. Major sources of lead exposure among U.S. children are lead-based paint, lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating structures and lead in soil.
Lead is a naturally occurring element found in small amounts in the earth’s crust. While it has some beneficial uses in industry, there is no safe level of lead in the body. Health effects include cardiovascular difficulties, increased blood pressure, hypertension and decreased kidney function. The effects in children include behavior and learning problems, lower IQ and hyperactivity, slowed growth and hearing problems. Despite the continued presence of lead in the environment, lead poisoning is preventable.
Indiana recognizes the importance of lead screening and prevention. In 2014, approximately 41,000 Hoosier children were screened for elevated blood lead levels. On average, 61 per 1,000 children in Indiana tested for lead experienced a blood lead level at or above the level at which the CDC recommends public health actions be initiated.
To help protect your family from lead exposure have your home tested before you buy an older home and have your child tested, even if he or she seems healthy.
Get the facts about preventing lead poisoning from your local health department. For contact information, visithttp://www.in.gov/isdh/24822.htm.