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:
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The Achieve Center blog is written by the professionals who are focused on children's mental health.