DHS Encourages All Wisconsinites to Take Steps to Prevent Childhood Lead Exposure
October 23-29 marks National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week
During National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (October 23-29), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is encouraging all Wisconsinites take steps to prevent and detect childhood lead exposure by getting the facts, helping children get tested for lead exposure, and checking homes for lead hazards.
“During National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, we urge awareness and action to prevent the life-long impact of lead exposure,” said Paula Tran, State Health Officer. “In Wisconsin, we have made continued progress in preventing childhood lead poisoning. However, lead hazards remain, and pose risks to children, in communities all across our state. Working together, we can reduce childhood lead exposure, eliminate lead hazards, and build a healthier future for all Wisconsin children.”
Childhood lead poisoning remains a serious public health crisis. Primarily caused by swallowing or breathing in dust from deteriorating lead-based paint, lead poisoning can cause learning and behavior problems, slowed growth and development, and hearing and speech problems. There are an estimated 350,000 homes in Wisconsin with lead-based paint hazards; homes built before 1978 are especially likely to contain lead paint. Other common sources of lead can be contaminated drinking water from corroded lead service lines or household plumbing; imported candy, spices, makeup, or toys; and adults bringing lead into the home due to exposure from some jobs and hobbies.
Over the past two decades, more than 230,000 Wisconsin children under the age of 6 have been poisoned by lead. Every county in Wisconsin has reported a child with lead poisoning over this time period.
“No amount of lead exposure is safe. While lead exposure can impact anyone, children under the age of 6 are especially vulnerable to lead exposure,” said Brian Weaver, DHS Lead Policy Advisor. “The most important way to prevent childhood lead poisoning is to protect children from exposure to lead hazards, and it’s important to detect exposure early by getting a blood lead test.”
DHS encourages parents, guardians, and caregivers to take action by:
Teach Your Child Conflict Management
Listening to children squabble gets old fast. Afterall, they are supposed to love one another and be kind. Their fighting disrupts the peace in the household and does not reflect our beliefs about how family members treat each other. So why do they do it? The answer is not complex and actually makes a lot of sense.
Conflict management is an important life skill children need to learn to get along with others throughout their lives. The place they develop these skills is at home with their siblings. The squabbling is functional. Through it they learn about conflict and how to respond to it. They learn to read body positioning, facial expression, and tone of voice and to understand boundaries and the different meanings of conflict words. They also learn how they can affect the outcome of a conflict and the different strategies for managing it. All this is learned through trial and error. Even though it is hard to listen to, parents are best to stay out of it unless there is a threat of harm. A strategy is to tell the warring children that you don’t want to listen to it and to take the conflict our side. It is amazing how quickly a solution will be found, especially in winter! Look for opportunities to mentor your children in conflict management strategies such as negotiating or creative problem solving. Don’t try and provide solutions or tell them not to have the conflict. Remember that your children are experiencing on-the-job training which will be of great benefit to them in the future. When conflict erupts, tell yourself it is better to learn about conflict at home with people who care than somewhere else with others who don’t.
The Achieve Center blog is written by the professionals who are focused on children's mental health.