Health and Family Services Cabinet
“Put the Lid on Lead” Week Scheduled to Curb Lead Poisoning
Health officials across the country are dedicating the final days of October to emphasizing the dangers of exposure to lead, one of the most significant health risks for young children.
Governor Ernie Fletcher recently issued a proclamation designating Oct. 23-29 Lead Poison Prevention Week in Kentucky, which will be observed through a series of events billed as “Put the Lid on Lead Week.” Coordinated by Cabinet for Health and Family Services staff, the week will include information sessions on the dangerous repercussions of prolonged exposure to lead and how to prevent lead exposure.
Exposure to lead can cause numerous problems, including the loss of IQ points, hearing loss, and liver and kidney damage.
“Lead poisoning remains a very real threat to the health and well-being of Kentucky’s children. If we are to be successful in our goal of eliminating lead poisoning, it will take a coordinated effort on the part of all Kentucky’s public health and health care professionals," said Ruth Ann Shepherd, M.D., director of the CHFS Division of Adult and Child Health Improvement. "That effort starts with screening our most vulnerable and at-risk populations.”
Every year, approximately 310,000 children across the United States are poisoned by exposure to lead in their environments. To help eliminate lead poisoning in Kentucky, the Kentucky Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program recommends children be tested at ages 1 and 2 (and any time before age 6 if a child has not previously been tested).
Only health care providers can conduct the test for lead poisoning in children, so parents and other child caregivers are encouraged to ask for this test. Health officials also stress the importance of lead-safe conditions during construction or home repair projects where lead could be present.
Exposure to lead paint or dust is the most common way children are poisoned by lead. Lead-based paint and dust are commonly found in homes built before 1978. Additionally, other products possibly containing lead can be harmful to children, include some vinyl mini blinds made before 1996; lead fishing sinkers; batteries; firearm ammunition; and some home remedies for upset stomach such as Azarcon and Greata.
Certain occupational conditions also may result in workers exosing children by bringing home lead-tained dust on work clothes and equipment. Industries commonly associated with lead are battery manufacturing and recycling, bridge and tank construction, scrap metal recycling and firing ranges.
Prevention week events include informational sessions on prevention efforts statewide, distribution of lead poisoning prevention materials, workshops for property owners, health fairs for parents and blood tests for young children.
For more information on childhood lead poisoning prevention or National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week activities in your area, please contact the Kentucky Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at (502) 564-2154 or visit www.putthelidonlead.org. For general information about lead poisoning or testing your home for lead hazards, contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323), or visit www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead.