The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reminds individuals to take precautions to reduce lead exposure to children during National Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. Lead poisoning can cause serious health effects and developmental problems in young children.
“Lead poisoning is a major, preventable environmental health problem in Los Angeles County as more than 3,800 children were found to have elevated blood levels in 2012,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, Interim Health Officer for Los Angeles County. “Lead can damage a child’s brain and nervous system and may cause permanent learning and behavioral problems. Lead poisoning is entirely preventable, so it is vital that we protect our children from exposure to lead.”
Even small amounts of lead in the body have been shown to impact ability to pay attention, lowered IQ and academic achievement. Children with elevated blood lead levels often look healthy. A blood lead test is the only way to identify and confirm lead poisoning in children. All children should be assessed by their doctor at ages one and two to see if they need a blood lead test.
Possible sources of lead exposure include:
Lead-based paint commonly found in houses, apartments, and buildings built before 1978
Ground soil that has been contaminated by lead paint, lead dust, or leaded gasoline
Lead dust that comes into the home on work clothes or work boots
Folk or traditional remedies, such as Azarcón and Greta
Various imported goods, such as toys, candy, ceramics, and children’s jewelry
Hobbies such as soldering, making stained glass, and handling bullets or fishing sinkers
Public Health’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program partners with elementary schools and pregnant teen/teen parent programs to promote lead poisoning prevention. Public Health provides free community outreach and health education materials to the public throughout the year. For more information, call 1-800-524-5323 or visit www.ph.lacounty.gov/lead/.