News Releases > Free risk assessments, testing available during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week
Goal to raise awareness of lead poisoning’s serious health effects on young children
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Oct. 24, 2011) – In observance of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health is stressing to parents the importance of having children tested and taking other steps to reduce the risk.
Childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children, yet an estimated 250,000 U.S. children have elevated blood-lead levels.
National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) is October 23-29 and this year's theme, "Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future," underscores the importance of testing your home, testing your child, and learning how to prevent lead poisoning’s serious health effects.
The Department of Health will be offering free risk assessments to the first five callers on Tuesday, Oct. 25. The phone number is (260) 449-7183. Parents can also make an appointment to have their child tested for lead poisoning by calling (260) 449-7514. The cost is $9.
“Lead poisoning can have devastating effects on a child, including irreversible damage to the brain and nervous system,” warned Allen County Health Officer Deborah McMahan, MD. “The good news is that lead poisoning is preventable and I urge all parents to take steps to identify and control the lead hazards in their child’s environment.”
Here are three simple things you can do to help protect your family:
Get your Home Tested. All houses built before 1978 are likely to contain some lead-based paint. However, it is the deterioration of this paint that causes a problem. Before you buy an older home, ask for a lead inspection. The Department of Health will be offering free risk assessments to the first five people who call on Tuesday, Oct. 25. The phone number is (260) 449-7183.
Get your Child Tested. Children younger than 6 years of age, particularly those at or below the poverty line who live in older housing, are at highest risks for lead poisoning. Even if your young children seem healthy, ask your doctor to test them for lead or call the Department of Health at (260) 449-7514 to schedule a blood lead level test.
Get the Facts. The Department of Health can provide helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning. Visit us at www.allencountyhealth.com.
About childhood lead poisoning
Lead is a highly toxic metal that at one time was an ingredient in many household products, including lead-based paints manufactured before 1978. Lead poisoning can affect every system in the body and is known to cause growth, hearing, speech and learning delays, as well as loss of IQ. Nearly a quarter of a million children living in the United States have blood lead levels high enough to cause significant damage to their health, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lead-based paint and lead contaminated dust are the main sources of exposure for lead in children. Because lead poisoning often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. A simple blood test can prevent permanent damage that will last a lifetime.