Lead poisoning prevention urged by health department

—The Genesee County Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program urges parents to have their children under six years of age tested for lead poisoning by their family physician.

During several weeks in November the Genesee County Health Department is collaborating with Mott Children’s Heath Center, Genesee County Head Start and Early Head Start Programs to host free blood lead testing clinics in several area schools. For additional information and to schedule an appointment please call Genesee County Health Department at 810- 257-3833.

Young children may not show signs that they are lead poisoned. A blood lead test is the only way to be certain that a child’s health is not being harmed by lead. All children enrolled in Head Start and WIC programs are required to have a blood lead test.

Children enrolled in a Medicaid Health Plan are required to have blood lead test at age one and age two or at least once between the ages of three and six if they have not previously been tested. Other health insurance may pay for blood lead testing, and free blood lead testing is available at the Genesee County Health Department for those without insurance.

Children under age six years old are most often poisoned by dust from lead paint in older homes, especially those built before 1950. Lead dust is created by opening and closing windows, and by remodeling or renovation. Lead dust settles on floors and window sills, and is ingested when infants and toddlers put their hands or toys into their mouths, as they so often do when they are exploring their world. Lead poisoning can cause problems with growth and development and research has shown links to lowered intelligence, learning disabilities, aggressive behavior, and juvenile delinquency.

The damage from lead poisoning is entirely preventable. The key is stopping children from coming in contact with lead and treating children who have been poisoned. Parents and guardians can do several things to help protect their family and children from lead poisoning. — G.G.

Three steps to preventing lead poisoning

Get your Child Tested

Even if your young children seem healthy, ask your doctor if they should be tested for lead poisoning.

Get your House Tested

Call the Health Department to find a professional that can test for the presence of lead paint in your home and to determine if you qualify for money available to help repair lead problems in the house that you are living in. Get the Facts

Call the Health Department to get additional information about preventing lead poisoning and how we can work together to have “Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future”.

For more information about childhood lead poisoning prevention contact the Genesee County Health Department at 810-257-3833 or visit www.gchd.us.

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