The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), along with the Commission on Women, Children, and Seniors and the Commission on Equity and Opportunity, sponsored a Lead Safety Awareness Forum and Day on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the State Legislative Office Building in Hartford. The theme of this year’s forum was “Let’s Stop Using Kids as Lead Detectors.”
According to the CDC, nearly half a million children living in the United States have elevated blood lead levels that may cause significant damage to their health. Major sources of lead exposure to children include lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in deteriorating buildings. Children can also be exposed to lead from additional sources, including take-home exposures from a workplace and lead in soil.
“It’s important to test your child for lead twice before the age of three, develop an awareness of lead paint hazards in your home, and learn how to prevent lead poisoning’s serious health effects,” said Krista Veneziano, Supervisor of the DPH Lead, Radon, and Healthy Homes Program.
Lead paint use was banned for residential use in the United States in 1978. The prevalence and incidence rates of lead poisoned children in Connecticut have been decreasing over the past fifteen years due to mandatory childhood screening and primary prevention efforts. However, the state’s housing stock is among the oldest in the country, and many houses still contain lead paint hazards that have the potential to poison children.
DPH data shows that Black and Hispanic children in Connecticut are at greater risk of being lead poisoned. For everyone living in a home or apartment built before 1978, it is important to understand the steps that should be taken to protect children from lead poisoning.
Here are some simple things parents can do to help protect their family from lead exposure:
- Get Your Child Tested. Even if young children seem healthy, ask their doctor to test them for lead. Mandatory testing is the law in Connecticut for children under the age of 6 years. Many children do not show signs of lead poisoning.
- Learn About the Effects of Lead Poisoning. No amount of lead in the body is safe and the effects of lead poisoning can be lifelong, including growth problems, hearing loss, and learning problems.
- Understand the Facts!DPH can provide helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning.
Click here to review the PowerPoint presentations for the Lead Safety Awareness Day. For more information on preventing lead hazards visit www.ct.gov/preventlead or for Spanish educational materials please visit www.ct.gov/plomo, or contact the DPH’s Lead, Radon and Healthy Homes Program at (860) 509-7299.