GENESEO, N.Y., Oct. 23, 2023 – The Livingston County Board of Supervisors is helping to spread awareness about the dangers associated with exposure to lead after declaring October 22-28 Lead Prevention Week throughout the County.
Nearly 3.3 million American households with children under six years of age have lead exposure hazards according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week provides a yearly opportunity to bring together individuals, organizations and local governments to reduce childhood exposure to lead.
There are no safe lead blood levels in children. Even relatively low levels of lead exposure can impair a child’s cognitive development. Here are important facts to know about lead exposure and its potentially harmful effects:
- Lead is toxic, especially in young children. When lead is breathed in or swallowed, it can result in damage to the brain and nervous system, learning and behavior problems, slow growth and development and hearing and speech problems.
- Lead poisoning is preventable. The key is preventing children from coming into contact with lead.
- Lead can be found inside and outside the home:
- Be cautious of deteriorated lead-based paint, which was commonly used on structures built before 1978. Children can be exposed by swallowing or breathing in lead dust created by old paint that has cracked and chipped, eating paint chips, and chewing on surfaces coated with lead dust and/or lead-based paint, such as window sills.
- Regular cleaning with damp sponges or cloths to control dust, washing children’s hands and toys often and wiping and removing shoes before entering the home can reduce risk of lead exposure.
- Lead may also be found in drinking water. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets and fixtures.
- Lead naturally occurs in soil. Lead-contaminated soil can become a source of exposure if accidentally ingested when it gets on family members’ hands when playing in the yard, gardening or gets tracked inside.
- Other potential sources of lead include toys, painted furniture, metal or plastic jewelry, items made in other countries and imported into the United States, lead-glazed pottery or porcelain and collectibles that get passed down.
- Some children are at greater risk for lead exposure than others, including those who are:
- From low-income families,
- Living with adults whose jobs or hobbies involve working with lead,
- Members of certain racial-ethnic minority groups,
- Recent immigrants,
- Living in poorly maintained homes or apartments built before 1978.
Protecting a child’s development is important to all parents and guardians. Children should be tested for lead at ages one and two. For questions about your child’s risk or to schedule a lead test, contact your child’s health care provider. For more information about lead, visit the Livingston County Department of Health’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program website or call 585-243-7299.
Stay up-to-date with the latest news, events and more by following Livingston County on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
About Livingston County:
Founded in 1821, Livingston County, N.Y., is home to more than 61,000 residents in 17 towns located across 631 square miles of the Finger Lakes region.