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David Sternberg, 215-814-5548
PHILADELPHIA -- Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency joined with the Temple Health Connection, and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health in celebrating the National Nursing Centers
Consortium's fifth anniversary of their Lead Safe Babies program. EPA also presented a $497,000 check to the City of Philadelphia for lead poisoning prevention education, and outreach.
Lead Safe Babies is an educational program with the goal of protecting children’s health during pregnancy and infancy, by providing new mothers with the necessary education and materials to keep their children free from lead poisoning.
“The National Nursing Centers Consortium is among the national organizations leading the way in protecting youth from environmental hazards,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA’s mid-Atlantic regional administrator. “Lead Safe Babies exemplifies the commitment and dedication of this non-profit organization in protecting the health of our children.”
At the celebration held at the Norris Homes Community Center in North Philadelphia, as part of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, families were recognized for their success in preventing lead poisoning of children in the home. This event marks the significant investment made by Philadelphia partners in keeping children lead-free.
The program was kicked-off in December 2000 with grants from the City of Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and EPA. It was funded by additional grants from those same partners in subsequent years, which allowed the program to expand statewide.
Through the program, community outreach specialists were trained and paid home visits to new or pregnant mothers who were provided with lead poisoning prevention education, lead cleaning supplies, and lead-safe cookbooks.
The outreach workers followed up with the new parents when babies were nine months of age, and screened those children for lead poisoning. To determine the effectiveness of the program, the Temple Health Connection performed an evaluation of the program with results indicating there was an increase in lead poisoning prevention knowledge after clients participated in the program.
Since its inception, the program has reached more than 4500 new mothers with babies.
Earlier this year, the National Nursing Centers Consortium was selected by EPA as one of 15 programs nationwide to receive EPA’s first-ever Children’s Environmental Health Excellence award, which recognizes extraordinary efforts to protect children from environmental health risks.
During Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, the EPA encourages parents who live in housing built prior to 1978 to have their homes tested for lead hazards and their children under the age of six tested for lead.
For more information about lead hazards and lead poisoning prevention, call the national lead hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD or visit http://www.epa.gov/lead.