Dangers of lead poisoning focus of Oct. 25 presentation
From press release
Join the Rockford Apartment Association and the Lead Program of the Winnebago County Health Department for a lead-free evening of knowledge beginning at 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 25.
John Wsol, technical assistant with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will discuss how to protect children living in homes built before 1978 from the dangers of lead poisoning. The presentation will be at the Rockford Area Association of Realtors, 6776 E. State St., Rockford (near East State and Perryville).
This presentation will focus on information dealing with common renovation activities like sanding, cutting and demolition, which can create hazardous lead dust by disturbing lead-based paint, which is harmful to adults and children. To protect against this risk, on April 22, 2008, the EPA issued a rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices and other actions aimed at preventing lead poisoning. Under the rule, beginning April 22, 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. (Landlords must disclose any known lead hazards, and even if they DO NOT know about lead hazards, must, by law, give a lead pamphlet to renters on pre-1978 property).
It is estimated 250,000 U.S. children have elevated blood-lead levels. In Illinois, more than 5,000 children were found to have lead poisoning in 2008. In Winnebago County, more than 220 children have tested positive for lead poisoning since the beginning of 2009. Major sources of lead exposure among U.S. children are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings.
People of any age, race or economic level can get lead poisoning, but children are at the greatest risk. Their small bodies absorb more lead than adult bodies do, and the lead affects them more because their bodies are still growing. Lead often targets the developing brain and nervous system. Children also are more likely to inhale or ingest lead dust because they place their hands and other objects in their mouths. Their proximity to the floor place children in greater contact with potentially contaminated dust and dirt.
Lead poisoning is related to a number of serious health problems. Children with elevated lead levels may suffer from learning disabilities, mental retardation, behavioral problems, lowered intelligence, stunted growth and hearing impairment. Convulsions, coma and death can occur at higher lead levels. Some recent studies claim that childhood lead poisoning can contribute to problems later in life, such as academic failure, juvenile delinquency and high blood pressure.
Kristine Stensland, Lead Program coordinator, for the Winnebago County Health Department, said: “This year’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week theme, ‘Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future,’ reminds all of us of the importance of testing your home, testing your child, and learning how to prevent lead poisoning’s serious health effects.”
For more information, contact Kristine Stensland at (815) 720-4130 or call 1-800-424-LEAD.
Print This Article