Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
Lead is one of the most serious environmental hazards faced by young children, especially those between 6 months and 6 years of age. Many lead hazards still exist in homes and the environment, including paint, folk remedies, plumbing, glazed ceramics, vinyl mini-blinds, chalk, candlewicks and others. These hazards are commonly present during painting and remodeling of pre-1978 housing. When exposed to lead, children do not show obvious signs of illness unless the amount of lead in their body becomes very high. However, low levels of lead may cause delays in mental and physical development. While these delays may not be visible when the child is young, they may dramatically affect the child’s future.
Primary sources of lead exposure:
- Deteriorating lead-based paint
- Lead contaminated residential soil
- Lead contaminated dust (dust can pick up lead from deteriorating lead-based paint or from soil tracked in the home)
Blood lead screening for children
A simple blood test can detect high levels of lead. Lead screening is available to children ages 6 months to 6 years from your private medical provider or participants of the Women, Infant and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program (WIC).
What happens if my child tests positive for lead poisoning?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines lead poisoning as a blood lead level of 5 or greater. In Taylor County, children with a lead level of 5 or greater are provided with follow-up and consultation by a Public Health Nurse. Follow-up may include phone calls, home visits, consultation with the primary health care provider and a home lead risk assessment by the Health Department’s Environmental Health Specialist. The ultimate goal is to reduce environmental lead exposure and lead poisoning.
For more information on dealing with lead hazards in your home, contact the Taylor County Health Department at 715 . 748 . 1410.