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Pennsylvania Observes National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week
Date:10/16/2009

Department of Health Provides Free Blood-lead Tests to Pregnant Women and Young Children

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Health today reminded Pennsylvania parents to test young children for lead exposure as part of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Oct. 18-24.

"Parents and caregivers need to ensure their children's continued health by getting them tested for lead poisoning," said Secretary of Health Everette James. "All ages can be affected, but children under the age of six are most severely impacted because their brains are still developing."

Lead poisoning can cause a variety of health-related problems, including permanent damage to the brain, the nervous system, and the kidneys. Lead poisoning often does not present symptoms but when they do occur, they are commonly confused with other illnesses. Symptoms may include stomach aches or cramps, convulsions, headaches, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, irritability, vision problems, loss of appetite and sleeplessness.

This year's theme, "What's on your walls?" raises awareness of the continued presence of lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes and the need to be aware of the potential hazards the paint can cause.

"Lead poisoning is preventable," Secretary James added. "The major source of lead exposure among U.S. children is inhalation or ingestion of lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings built before 1978. It is essential to properly renovate these potentially hazardous homes."

The Department of Health recommends the following safety tips to reduce the risk of lead exposure, poisoning and related illness:

  • Test children for lead poisoning at one and two years of age, and no later than three years;
  • Test homes built before 1978 for lead-based paint;
  • Keep children away from any peeling paint that may contain lead;
  • Wash children's hands often along with their toys and pacifiers;
  • Wash hard surfaces, such as floors and window ledges, weekly;
  • Do not dry-scrape, heat or burn paint; and
  • People who work around lead should remove work clothes before having contact with children.

The Department of Health's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program provides comprehensive, childhood lead-poisoning prevention and control services in high-risk areas. The program provides free blood-lead testing to pregnant women and children who are between six months and six years of age.

For more information, visit www.health.state.pa.us or call the Department of Health's toll-free Lead Information Line at 1-800-440-LEAD.

Media contact: Stacy Kriedeman, 717-787-1783

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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