Being observed Sunday, Oct. 24 through Saturday, Oct. 30, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is a week-long information campaign about the dangers of lead poisoning in children. For San Joaquin County, in just three months from April 2021 to June 2021, there were 21 cases of high lead levels discovered from blood tests in children ranging from one to six years old. As this year’s message alerts parents, “Even small amounts of lead can be harmful, leading to permanent health problems. Ask your child’s doctor about a blood lead test.”
“The purpose of this campaign is to remind parents that lead exposure is often undetected. Parents should find out early if their children have been exposed to lead to help them stay healthy and succeed in school,” shared Dr. Erin Gustafson, Assistant Health Officer for San Joaquin County Public Health Services. “It’s important for parents to ask their children’s doctor about blood lead testing.”
Lead poisoning is especially dangerous for children under the age of six as their rapidly growing and developing bodies absorb more lead and can cause permanent learning and behavioral problems. Most children with lead poisoning do not look or act sick. A blood lead test is the only way to know if a child has high levels of lead.
Children at risk of lead exposure should be tested at one and two years of age.
Otherwise, untested at-risk children three to six years old should have a lead test.
Children at highest risk for lead exposure are those around lead-based paint in older housing. Other sources of lead poisoning exposure include:
• Lead dust brought home on parents’ work clothes;
• Certain imported ceramic pottery and painted objects;
• Traditional home remedies and cosmetics;
• Imported spices, candies, and other food products;
• Lead used in soldering, crafting stained glass, handling bullets or fishing sinkers.
For more information to protect your child from this silent environmental disease, visit clppp.sjcphs.org and www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/clppb. Parents and caregivers should ask their child’s doctor about a blood lead test.
For additional questions, contact Ursula Fung, Senior Public Health Nurse for the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP), at 209-468-2593 or email@example.com.