Native News Network Staff in Native Health. Discussion »
WASHINGTON - Lead poisoning can cause mental retardation, reduced growth and a variety of other health problems. In some screenings American Indian children have had high incidences of elevated levels of lead in their blood than did Caucasian children.
Sources of lead poisoning includes dust and chips from old lead-based pain dust from older types of plastic window blinds, and contaminated soil, all of which are more prevalent in low-income housing areas.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is recognizing National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, October 23-29 to raise awareness of lead poisoning in children. 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.
This year's National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week theme, Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future, underscores the importance of testing your home and your child, and getting the facts about how to prevent serious health effects.
"Lead poisoning can have life-altering health effects, especially on our children. But it is entirely preventable if we take the right steps to protect our children in all the places where they live, learn and play," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. "National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week gives us the opportunity to strengthen our awareness and prevention efforts and ensure parents have the tools they need to protect their children against lead exposure every day of the year."
Major sources of lead exposure among children are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings. Lead most commonly occurs in the environment as a result of improper repair or renovation of pre-1978 homes. Despite the continued presence of lead in the environment, lead poisoning is entirely preventable.
Here are some simple things you can do to help protect your children:
Visit LeadFreeKids.org or call 1-800-424-LEAD.
posted October 21, 2011 11:00 am edt
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