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Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 22, 2020
Contact: John Lyon, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                 Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512

OCTOBER 25-31 IS NATIONAL LEAD POISONING PREVENTION WEEK

Learn how to reduce children's exposure to lead

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 because they tend to put their fingers and toys in their mouths and play in places where lead dust and paint chips can be found.

Every year, National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) highlights the many ways parents can reduce children's exposure to lead in their environment, prevent its serious health effects, and learn about the importance of testing children for lead. NLPPW raises local awareness about the danger of lead exposure and poisoning.

The Health Department is conducting a "Don't Bring Lead into Your Home" awareness campaign during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. As part of Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, our community's youngest residents are helping with a project that emphasizes and shows where LEAD can be hiding: cosmetics, ointments, & pastes, incense, candlestick, jewelry, spices, herbal medicines, glazed pottery, and candy from other countries. Posters with children's lead poisoning prevention artwork will be displayed on our Rockland County Facebook and Twitter pages and on our website at http://bit.ly/LeadPoisoningPrevention.

Lead can also be found inside and outside the home. The most common source of exposure is from lead-based paint. Homes built before 1978 may have lead-painted window sills, window frames, and walls. When old paint is sanded, scraped, brushed, burned, or if it cracks and peels due to wear and tear, it makes lead dust. Adults and children can get lead into their bodies by breathing in lead dust, especially during activities such as renovations, repairs, or painting by swallowing lead dust that settles on surfaces such as food, floors, and window sills or by eating paint chips or soil that contains lead. AVOID some products imported from the Middle East, Latin America, South East Asia, China, and India.

"There is no safe blood lead level in children. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect children's growth and development, cause behavior problems, and make it hard for children to learn. Lead can also be a problem for adults, as pregnant women can pass lead exposure to their babies. The good news is that childhood lead poisoning is 100% preventable," said Dr. Ruppert.

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

  • Get your child tested. New York State requires health care providers to test all children for lead with a simple blood lead test at ages one and two. 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. 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 https://www.epa.gov/lead/real-estate-disclosures-about-potential-lead-hazards.
  • Feed your family foods that can help prevent lead poisoning. Foods high in iron, calcium, and vitamin C make it difficult for lead to be absorbed in the body. For more information on specific foods and tips, visit https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/6672.pdf
  • Get the facts. The Health Department can provide you with helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning, call (845) 364-2558 or visit http://bit.ly/LeadPoisoningPrevention
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