From the Broome County Health Department:
October 26th – October 30st is Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2020. Lead is a major environmental threat for children in Broome County and throughout New York State. Lead is especially dangerous for young children, where it can cause problems with a child’s growth, behavior, and ability to learn. Lead can also harm babies before they are born.
Most childhood lead poisoning is caused by lead dust from old, peeling lead paint in buildings built before 1978. This, often invisible, lead dust settles on toys, windowsills and floors. A child can get lead poisoning by swallowing or breathing in lead or lead dust. Only a small amount of lead is needed to harm a young, growing child. “Lead is especially dangerous for young children, it can cause permanent, irreversible problems with a child’s growth, behavior, and ability to learn” said Rebecca Kaufman, Public Health Director for Broome County Health Department.
New York State requires lead testing for all children at ages one and two. In 2019, Broome County identified 56 children with elevated blood lead levels. However, locally many children are undetected due to poor testing rates. Last year, only 50% of one-year old children and approximately 45% of two-year old children were tested.
If you have young children, Broome County Health Department recommends taking steps to help protect them from lead in their environment, these include:
1) Assume any home built before 1978 contains lead paint.
2) Keep all painted surfaces in good condition.
3) Keep babies and children away from any peeling, chipped paint.
4) Before you repair peeling paint or do home renovations, call your local health department to find out how to paint and repair safely, to keep dust levels down.
Broome County Health Department also provides education and support for parents of children identified with lead poisoning. This includes learning about a diet that reduces the effects of lead, working with local providers and scheduling home visits to detect lead sources. To learn more
about preventing lead poisoning call the Broome County Health Department at 778-2838 or visit https://www.facebook.com/BroomeCountyHealth