FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
October 29, 2009 Contact: William Gerrish
Hartford – The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) urges parents to take steps to reduce children’s possible exposure to lead. To underscore the need for lead poisoning awareness, DPH is highlighting National Lead Poisoning Week, October 25 – 31. This year's theme, "What's On Your Walls?" emphasizes the major source of lead exposure among U.S. children is lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in their homes.
“There are many ways parents can reduce a child’s exposure to lead,” stated DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, MD, MPH, MBA. “First and foremost, hazards in a child’s environment must be identified and controlled or removed safely. Lead poisoning is frequently unrecognized because it often occurs with no obvious symptoms. A blood lead test is the only way to know whether a person is lead poisoned.”
Lead poisoning can strike any child, regardless of nationality, race, geographic location or economic status, and it is also completely preventable. No amount of lead exposure is good for a body. Even low lead doses are a concern for children, since continuing exposure can add up to a significant dose over time. The impairment that lead poisoning exposure may cause is irreversible.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that every year approximately 250,000 U.S. children aged 1-5 years have blood lead levels greater than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, the level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated. Connecticut state health officials say that in 2008, there were approximately 1054 Connecticut children with elevated blood lead levels greater than this level, and 735 of those children were newly poisoned.
National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) is set aside to educate parents, children, and community members about the dangers of lead exposure, especially lead-paint hazards in housing. Despite recent progress in reducing childhood lead poisoning in our state, lead exposure remains a significant environmental health risk. As part of the observance, many states and communities will conduct education and awareness events.
The goals of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week are:
- To raise awareness about lead poisoning;
- To emphasize the importance of screening the highest risk children younger than 6 years of age, preferably screening them by 1 to 2 years of age;
- To highlight existing childhood lead poisoning prevention partnering efforts and to increase the establishment of new efforts; and
- To urge people to take steps to reduce their possible exposure to lead.
For more information about the prevention of childhood lead poisoning and what you can do to reduce lead hazards in your home, visit the Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Program website at www.ct.gov/dph/lead.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.