Children’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
his program screens and case manages children with elevated lead levels. We provide lead screenings free of charge to children under 6. If lead is detected we begin case management interviews and follow-ups with their primary physicians. If a state case is identified, we work with the State to provide environmental testing of the home to identify lead sources as well as education for parents on ways to decrease exposure as well as ways to keep kids healthy and lead-free.
What are the facts?
Today, childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children, yet an estimated 250,000 U.S. children have elevated blood-lead levels. A simple blood test can prevent permanent damage that will last a lifetime. Plumas County Public Health is committed to eliminating this burden to public health.
Most children who have lead poisoning do not look or act sick. Symptoms, if present, may be confused with common childhood complaints, such as stomachache, crankiness, headaches, or loss of appetite.
Free Testing Available
The Plumas County Public Health Clinic provides free testing for lead in children. The test involves a finger stick. It is recommended that all children be tested at 1 and 2 years of age.
Most children will have negative results, but a child with positive lead exposure will be retested and referred to a public health nurse for follow-up, and environmental health staff may become involved to try to locate the source of the lead in the child’s environment.
How does lead harm a child?
- Lead poisoning can harm a child’s nervous system and brain when they are still forming.
- Lead can lead to a low blood count (anemia).
- Small amounts of lead in the body can make it hard for children to learn, pay attention, and succeed in school.
- Higher amounts of lead exposure can damage the nervous system, kidneys, and other major organs. Very high exposure can lead to seizures or death.
- Keep the area where your children play as dust-free and clean as possible.
- Consider hiring a certified inspector to check for lead hazards in older homes. Click here to find an inspector.
- Ask your doctor to test your young children for lead even if they seem healthy. Read more: How Lead Exposure Can Affect Your Child.
- Be a good neighbor. Spread the word about EPA’s new lead-safe renovation rule. Read more.
- Report chipped or cracked paint to your landlord if you live in an older home built before 1978.
- Make sure your children do not chew on painted surfaces, such as toys or window sills.
- Learn about and avoid toys that contain lead. Read more.
- Lead Poisoning Prevention Tips
Frequently Asked Questions About Lead Poisoning
Additional information about preventing childhood lead poisoning:
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency website on lead or call 1-800-424-LEAD (5323);
- CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program website
- Lead in the workplace Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology Surveillance Program/ National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (ABLES/ NIOSH)
- Lead in the Environment Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
- Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Listen to a podcast from CDC about lead poisoning prevention and to EPA’s podcast about the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule. Podcasts can be accessed directly from the CDC Web site, or you can download audio and/or video podcasts to your desktop and your portable music/video player to get health information at your convenience and on the go.
Dr. Mary Jean Brown, CDC’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch Chief discusses the importance of testing children for lead poisoning, who should be tested, and what parents can do to prevent lead poisoning.
Dr. Maria Doa, EPA’s Director of National Program Chemicals Division discusses EPA’s new rule for renovations, repairs, and painting activities.
National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW)
CDC and HHS share the goal of eliminating childhood lead poisoning in the United States. NLPPW occurs every year during The last full week in October During NLPPW, CDC aims to:
- Raise awareness about lead poisoning;
- Stress the importance of screening the highest risk children younger than 6 years of age (preferably by ages 1 and 2) if they have not been tested yet;
- Highlight partner’s efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning; and
- Urge people to take steps to reduce lead exposure.
During NLPPW, many states and communities offer free blood-lead testing and conduct various education and awareness events. For more information about NLPPW activities in your area, please contact your state or local health department.
For more information, please feel free to contact the Public Health Agency Clinic: (530) 283-6330