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National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week Encourages Testing and Safe Home Repairs to Protect Children’s Health

Release Date: 10/23/2013
Contact Information: Suzanne Skadowski, EPA Region 10 Public Affairs, 206-295-4829, skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov; Maria Tartaglia, EPA Region 10 Lead Safe Program, 206-553-1128, tartaglia.maria@epa.gov

(October 23, 2013 – Seattle) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognizes National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week October 20-26, 2013, to raise awareness of lead poisoning in children. Approximately one million children today are affected by lead poisoning, but when you know what to look for and what to do, lead poisoning is 100% preventable.

Major source of lead exposure among children is lead-based paint, including lead-contaminated dust and paint chips, found in deteriorating buildings. Lead most commonly occurs in the environment as a result of improper repair or renovation of pre-1978 homes. Despite the continued presence of lead in the environment, lead poisoning is preventable.

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week gives us the opportunity to strengthen our awareness and prevention efforts and ensure parents have the tools they need to protect their children against lead exposure every day of the year. Its theme, Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future, underscores the importance of testing your home and your child, and getting the facts about how to prevent serious health effects. Here are some simple things you can do to help protect your children:

    Get your home tested. Have your home inspected for lead-based paint if you live in a home built before 1978.
    Get your child tested. Even if your young children seem healthy, ask your doctor to test them for lead.
    Get a certified lead-safe contractor. If you renovate your pre-1978 home, use a certified lead-safe contractor.
    Get the facts. Visit leadfreekids.org or call 1-800-424-LEAD.

Lead poisoning can have life-altering health effects, especially on children. For children, even low levels of exposure to lead can cause a host of developmental effects such as learning disabilities, decreased intelligence and speech, language, and behavioral problems. Lead is particularly dangerous to children because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults do and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. Babies and young children can be more highly exposed to lead because they often put their hands and other objects that can have lead from dust or soil on them into their mouths.