Oct 24, 2016
The Peoria City/County Health Department recognizes National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, October 23-29, 2016, highlighting the commitment to eliminate lead poisoning in children. This year's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week theme, "Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future," will focus on the many ways parents can reduce a child's exposure to lead and prevent lead poisoning's serious health effects.
Lead poisoning causes the most harm to children aged 1 to 5 and particularly when children start crawling. The harmful effects of lead poisoning can last a lifetime. Even at low levels, lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, lower IQ, slowed growth, kidney problems, and in extreme instances, seizures and death. The major source of lead exposure among young children is from lead-contaminated dust from lead-based paint which was banned for use in homes in 1978. Many older homes still have windows, doors, and siding with lead-based paint that can chip off causing contaminated dust around the house and outside in soil.
Dale Clarkson, Manager of the Lead Hazard Program, at Peoria City/County Health Department states, "Today, childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children, yet Peoria County has areas with some of the highest lead levels in the State of Illinois. We are working with parents, homeowners, renters, and landlords in the most affected areas in Peoria County to reduce lead hazard exposure in homes from old lead-based paint and to keep our children healthy."
Clarkson stresses a few important tips to keep children healthy and to reduce exposure to lead hazards in and around the home:
• Get your child tested for lead poisoning. All children should be tested at 9-12 months of age and again at 18-24 months of age. Call your medical provider or health department to arrange for a blood test.
• Keep your home clean. Wet wiping and mopping hard surface areas will help control dust around your home. Focus on floors and windowsills.
• Arrange furniture so that cribs and beds are not near old windows that could have chipping lead-based paint and dust.
• Wash your child’s hands frequently, especially after playing outside and before meals. Wash pacifiers, bottles, and toys that have fallen on the floor.
• Take your shoes off at the door. This helps prevent tracking in any lead dust from the outside.
• Maintain your home. Cover up areas of chipped, flaking, peeling paint. These can be sources of lead.
• Use caution when remodeling or renovating. Use lead-safe work practices when working on your home. Check out the Healthy Home resources on our webpage.
• Follow a healthy diet that helps limit the absorption of any toxic lead. Feed your children small, frequent meals and foods high in vitamin C, iron and calcium.
For information on lead poisoning and lead hazard removal, call 309-679-6120. For more information on important public health issues, visit the Peoria City/County Health Department website at www.pcchd.org.
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