SAVANNAH — This is National Lead Poison Prevention Week and the Coastal Health District (CHD) encourages parents and caregivers in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long and McIntosh counties to do all they can to keep children from being exposed to lead.
Although lead poisoning is highly preventable, more than 300,000 children in the U.S. have elevated levels of lead in their blood. Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, behavioral problems, and hearing loss in children. Higher levels of lead poisoning can result in coma and even death.
“Children are often exposed to lead through lead-based paint. Even though this type of paint has been banned since the late 1970s, it still exists in older homes and buildings,” said CHD’s lead coordinator for the Georgia Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Judy Hartley. “Because the coastal counties have so many beautiful, older homes and ‘do it yourself’ home renovation is so popular, we want communities in our area to understand that renovation in any home built before 1978 could expose children to lead dust.”
All health departments within the Coastal Health District have the ability to check children for elevated levels of lead and treatment is available. But lead poisoning can be prevented. The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following prevention tips:
• Damp-mop floors and damp-wipe surfaces.
• Frequently wash a child’s hands, pacifiers and toys to reduce exposure to lead.
• Use only cold water from the tap for drinking, cooking and for making baby formula. Hot water is more likely to contain higher levels of lead, and most of the lead in household water usually comes from the plumbing in your house, not from the local water supply.
• Avoid using home remedies (such as azarcon, greta, pay-loo-ah) and cosmetics (such as kohl, alkohl) that contain lead.
• Take basic steps to decrease your exposure to lead (for example, by showering and changing clothes after finishing the task) if you remodel buildings built before 1978 or if your work or hobbies involve working with lead-based products.
For more information, go to www.cdc.gov/environmental.