Information on Safe Remodeling, Prevention Available at Clinics for Lead Poisoning Prevention Week
October 20, 2006
Having identified more than 800 children in Contra Costa County with lead poisoning since 1993, Contra Costa Health Services' Lead Poisoning Prevention Project is preparing special outreach for next week to bring useful information to families throughout the county.
Literature and testing of household items will be available free in four locations in Contra Costa County next week in honor of Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.
The Lead Poisoning Prevention Project (LPPP) will staff information tables each morning in a different city from Monday, October 23 to Thursday, October 26.
"Childhood lead poisoning is a silent but harmful environmental illness that can cause long-term harm to children, including learning difficulties and behavior problems," stated the proclamation passed by the County Board of Supervisors declaring October 22-28 as Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in Contra Costa County.
"Many people are confused about lead poisoning, and we hope to clear things up," said Joanne Genêt, manager of LPPP. "In particular, many people want to know how to safely remodel their homes without endangering their children. We will be distributing and explaining literature that says how to do it right."
The Lead Poisoning Prevention Week information tables will be set up at the following times and locations: 9 a.m. - noon on October 23 at Richmond Health Center, 100 38th Street; 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. on October 24 at La Clínica Monument Medical Clinic, 2100 Monument Blvd., Suite 8, in Pleasant Hill; 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. October 25 at La Clínica Pittsburg Medical Clinic, 2240 Gladstone Drive, Suite 4; and 9 - 11:30 a.m. October 26 at Bay Point Family Health Center, 215 Pacifica Ave.
"Our main message is that lead poisoning is preventable, but you have to protect people, especially children under 6, from lead-based paint and other sources in the home and workplace," said Genêt. "That protection requires collaboration between Contra Costa Health Services, various organizations and the community.
"A blood test is the only way to tell," said Genêt. "Children with lead poisoning usually look healthy, so without a blood test, it's impossible to tell who has been exposed." Most health insurance plans will pay for the test, and the LPPP staff can provide referrals for families with no insurance, said Genêt.
Federal legislation was introduced this month to establish a $42.6 million grant program to help non-home-based childcare facilities meet a requirement to become lead safe by 2012. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 310,000 children nationwide have toxic levels of lead in their blood, with low-income and people of color disproportionately at risk.
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