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Hundreds of thousands of children living in the United States have elevated blood lead levels that may cause significant damage to their health. They can develop behavior and learning problems (such as hyperactivity), slowed growth, hearing problems, and aggressive patterns of behavior. Stopping a child’s exposure to lead from leaded paint, house dust, or any other source is the best way to prevent the harmful effects of lead.

To raise awareness of the consequences of lead poisoning among parents and pregnant women who live in homes built before 1978, the Westport Weston Health District (WWHD) is participating in National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) October 22-28.  WWHD joins the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in encouraging parents to learn more about how to prevent lead poisoning.

This year’s NLPPW theme, “Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future,” underscores the importance of testing your home, testing your child, learn about drinking water, and learning how to prevent lead poisoning’s serious health effects.

Parents can reduce a child’s exposure to lead in many ways. Here are some simple things you can do to help protect your family:

  1. Get Your Home Tested. Before you buy an older home, ask for a lead inspection.
  2. Get Your Child Tested. Even if your young children seem healthy, ask your doctor to test them for lead.
  3. Learn About Drinking Water. Water pipes in some older homes may contain lead solder where lead may leach out into the water. Learn more about lead in drinking water here.

Established in 1999 by the US Senate, National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week occurs every year during the last week in October. During this week, many states and communities offer free blood-lead testing and conduct various education and awareness events. Understand the Facts! Your local health department can provide you with helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning. For more information about NLPPW activities in your area, contact WWHD at (203) 227-9571 ext 242.