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Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 20, 2016
Contact: Jane Lerner, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
               Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, DO, MPH, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512

OCTOBER 23-29 IS LEAD POISONING PREVENTION WEEK

Learn how to prevent lead poisoning's serious health effects

NEW CITY, NY - - 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, Rockland County Executive Ed Day today issued a countywide proclamation declaring the week of October 23 to 29 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. In addition, the Health Department is launching 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. Also during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, a public information table will be located on the first floor of the Allison-Parris County Office Building, outside the Legislative Chambers, at 11 New Hempstead Road in New City. Information about lead poisoning prevention will be available.

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.
  • Get your home tested. Before you buy an older home, ask for 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. 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.
  • Learn about drinking water. Visit the EPA website at www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water.
  • Get the facts. The Health Department can provide you with helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning. Visit http://rocklandgov.com/departments/health/programs-and-services/lead-poisoning-prevention-program/ or call (845) 364-3786.