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Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 6, 2017
Contact: Jane Lerner, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
               Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512

OCTOBER 22-28 IS LEAD POISONING PREVENTION WEEK
Learn how to prevent lead poisoning's serious health effects

NEW CITY, NY - - During Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert warn residents that lead continues to be a major cause of poisoning among children and can seriously harm a child's health. Children under age 6 are most at risk for lead poisoning caused by swallowing or breathing in lead. The good news is that lead poisoning is preventable.

To raise awareness of this important public health issue County Executive Ed Day today issued a countywide proclamation declaring the week of October 22 to 28, 2017 as Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in Rockland. "This proclamation reinforces our commitment to having every child in Rockland County grow up in a healthy, safe environment, free from the harmful effects of lead," said County Executive Day.

The Health Department is conducting a #RocklandLeadFreeKids awareness campaign during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. Look for our posters in the community and messages on our Facebook www.facebook.com/rockhealth and Twitter www.twitter.com/rockhealth pages and on our website www.rocklandgov.com/health.  As part of Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, the children of our community are helping with a project that emphasizes that every child is a reason to prevent lead poisoning.  Come see our display during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, on the first floor of the Allison-Parris County Office Building, at 11 New Hempstead Road in New City. An information table with lead poisoning prevention materials will be available for the public.

Most children get lead poisoning from living or staying in older homes that have lead painted window sills, window frames and walls. Many homes built before 1978 have lead paint on the inside and outside of the building. When old paint is sanded, scraped, brushed, burned, or if it cracks and peels due to wear and tear, it makes lead dust. Young children, especially between 6 months and 6 years old, are most at risk of being poisoned by lead because they tend to put their fingers and toys in their mouths and play in places where lead dust and chips can be found.

"Lead in a child's body can slow down growth and development, damage hearing and speech, cause behavior problems and make it hard for children to pay attention and learn. Some of these problems may never go away. Lead can also be harmful to pregnant women, as it can be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy," said Dr. Ruppert.

Parents can reduce a child's exposure to lead in many ways. Here are some simple things you can do:

  • Get your child tested. Even if your young children seem healthy, ask your doctor to test them for lead at ages one and two. The most common test for lead is a simple blood test. In fact, New York State requires health care providers to test all children for lead with a blood lead test at age one year and again at age two years. At every well-child visit up to age six, health care providers must ask parents about any contact their child might have had with lead. If there's been a chance of contact, providers are required to test for lead again.
  • Renovate your home in a lead-safe way. Remodeling your home? Contact your local town or village before renovating or remodeling to find out if a building permit is required. Renovate right with lead-safe work practices. For information about remodeling or renovating in a lead-safe way, or to find a contractor or inspector, visit the EPA website at www.epa.gov/lead. Before you buy an older home, consider a lead inspection.  To learn about your rights before you buy or lease visit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website at www.epa.gov/lead/real-estate-disclosure.
  • Get the facts. The Health Department can provide you with helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning, call (845) 364-2534 or visit the New York State Department of Health's website for more information: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/lead/ or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/