State health department offers resources to help prevent lead poisoning
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recommends all low-income children in Colorado be tested for lead at 12 months and 24 months of age. Colorado's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program identifies approximately 200 children per year with confirmed elevated blood lead levels.
"Lead-Free for a Healthy Future," the theme for Lead Poisoning Prevention Week Oct. 23-29, underscores the importance of testing your home, testing your child and learning to prevent lead poisoning's serious health effects. Following the department's lead screening guidelines will help ensure children at risk can receive treatment. Visit www.colorado.gov/cdphe/leadhealth for more information about blood testing for lead.
There is no safe level of lead in the body. Lead is especially dangerous to children because it may affect the normal development of a child's brain. Elevated blood lead levels may result in intelligence quotient (IQ) loss, learning and behavior problems, developmental delays, and lifelong mental and physical health issues.
Lead-based paint was banned for residential use in 1978, and any house built before 1979 might contain some lead-based paint. Approximately 48 percent of the housing units in Colorado were built before 1980. Major sources of lead exposure include not just the lead paint, but lead-contaminated dust from deteriorating building surfaces caused by renovation activities or even normal wear and tear, such as opening and closing windows and doors that were painted with lead-based paint.
Additional sources of lead exposure include contaminated drinking water; take-home exposure from a workplace; soil contaminated by paint chips, auto emissions and other industrial sources; lead in-home remedies; and lead in consumer products and food.
To increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning prevention, the department is sponsoring the following activities during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2016:
*Paint-can stir sticks with lead awareness messaging, available at hardware stores throughout Colorado, or available by request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*3M Leadcheck kits are available to check for lead paint in homes built before 1979. Find information on how to request a kit at http://www.colorado.gov/cdphe/leadpaint.
*The department is sponsoring a Lead Poisoning Prevention Week Tote Bag Design Contest. Visit www.facebook.com/cdphe.apcd to enter.
Tote bags with lead awareness messaging, including the winning design from the 2015 design contest, will be available throughout Colorado.