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Lead contamination is especially dangerous to kids


The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) recently recognized Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Oct. 23-29. Children can be exposed to lead by ingesting lead-contaminated dust, paint chips from deteriorating lead-based paint, and lead-contaminated soil. If homes have water lines with lead in them, the lead can get into drinking water, especially while these lines are being replaced.

Other sources of lead poisoning include lead dust brought home on parents’ work clothes, certain imported ceramic pottery, painted objects, traditional home remedies, traditional cosmetics, and imported spices, candies, and other food products. Additionally, activities that involve lead products such as soldering, making stained glass, and handling bullets or fishing line sinkers can put children at risk.

Public Health provides outreach and education to promote screening as well as nursing case management and environmental investigation for lead-burdened families. Public Health also partners with the Los Angeles County Development Authority to provide lead paint hazard remediation services to eligible homeowners, property owners, and tenants across LA County.

“There is no safe level of lead for children, and Public Health is pleased to work with partners to reduce exposure risks, increase awareness about the harmful effects, and promote timely screening,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health. “Lead poisoning can seriously affect a child’s brain and nervous system. It can cause learning and behavioral problems. A blood lead test is the only way to identify lead poisoning in children, and we encourage parents to ask their child’s doctor about blood lead testing.”

All parents and caregivers of young children are invited to visit and learn how to protect their children from this serious environmental disease.