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EPA Announces Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

Agency urges parents to protect children from exposure

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is recognizing National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW), October 24-30, 2010, to raise awareness of lead poisoning in children. Lead causes a variety of adverse health effects, including brain and nervous system disorders, high blood pressure and hypertension, and reproductive problems. 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, which can affect children for a lifetime.

"Lead exposure can have serious, life-altering health effects, especially for our children. Those effects are entirely preventable if we take the right steps to raise awareness and give every family the tools they need to protect against lead exposure," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. "It's vital that we help educate parents and caretakers on the importance of safeguarding children from the dangers of lead in their homes. National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week gives us the opportunity to strengthen our prevention efforts and ensure safety year round."

In April 2010, EPA published its Lead Renovation Repair and Painting Rule to reduce contamination associated with the removal of lead-based paint chips and dust generated when homes are remodeled. The rule requires training and certification of all remodeling contractors to engage in safe lead paint-handling procedures. The agency anticipates the rule will further reduce the incidence of lead poisoning in the United States.

Lead paint poisoning affects more than 1 million children today. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that nearly 250,000 children living in the United States have blood lead levels high enough to require public health intervention, based on data from a 2003-2004 national survey. Major sources of lead exposure among children are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings. Despite the continued presence of lead in the environment, lead poisoning is entirely preventable.

This year's NLPPW theme, Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future, underscores the importance of sting your home and your child, and getting the facts about how to prevent lead poisoning's serious health effects.

Parents can reduce a child's exposure to lead in many ways. Here are some simple things you can do to help protect your children:
  • Get your home tested. Have your home inspected 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 the facts. Visit http://www.leadfreekids.org or call 1-800-424-LEAD.
More information on lead: http://epa.gov/lead/pubs/lppw2010.htm

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