FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 17, 2013
CONTACT: Jennifer Miller, (608)
TESTING AND EDUCATION ARE KEY TO PREVENTING LEAD POISONING AMONG WISCONSIN
National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week Is October
MADISON—Hundreds of thousands of children nationwide – including an
estimated 7,500 in Wisconsin in 2011 – have elevated blood lead levels
that may damage their health and affect their success in school, making
it critical to raise awareness and participate in this year’s National
Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, state health officials announced today.
“Lead poisoning affects all of us, because it decreases the potential
of affected children, reducing their ability to learn and causing
behavioral problems and life-long health problems,” said Dr. Henry
Anderson, State Health Officer. “We share the national campaign’s goal
of ‘Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future.’”
“Most children who are lead poisoned are exposed to lead-contaminated
dust from deteriorating paint in older homes or day care facilities
built before 1978, which is why this year’s campaign messages are: get
your home tested, get your kids tested, get the facts,” Anderson said.
In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lowered
the blood lead level at which follow-up action is recommended for
children from10 mcg/dL to 5 mcg/dL or more. According to 2011 data, this
change would increase the number of Wisconsin children considered at
risk from 876 to more than 7,500.
To lower a child’s exposure to lead, action steps include follow-up
with health care providers and seeking help from other professionals to
find and remove the lead sources. Exposure at higher levels may require
medications to help remove lead from the child’s body, but brain injury
caused by the lead cannot be reversed.
A recent study by University of Wisconsin - Madison researchers
showed that children with even moderate lead exposure before age 3 were
three times more likely to be suspended from school in fourth grade
compared with peers with little or no exposure to lead. An earlier study
by the same researchers showed such exposure resulted in lower
standardized test scores for these children.
For information on local lead poisoning prevention efforts in your
community, call your local health department:
To learn about steps to take to remove lead from your home, visit the
Lead-Safe Wisconsin website,
http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/lead, or call the National Lead Information
Hotline at 800-424-LEAD (5323).
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October 17, 2013