WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – It’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.
According to the Mayo Clinic, lead is a “metal that occurs naturally in earth’s crust.”
Health officials believe lead exposure is more common in low-income neighborhoods.
It can be found inside and outside the home, including in water that travels through lead pipes or in soil. However, health officials believe the most common source of lead exposure is paint, especially if it’s chipping, peeling or in poor condition.
Before it was banned, lead-based paint was commonly used in homes built before 1978.
Adults and children can get lead into their bodies by breathing in or swallowing lead dust. Kids often get lead exposure from adults’ jobs or hobbies or from metal toys.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children are at the highest risk for lead poisoning because they’re still growing and developing. That’s why health officials recommend testing children at ages one, two and three.
“We want healthy children, and they’re the next generation and so we have to take measures to prevent lead poisoning for them,” Director of the Black Hawk County Health Department Dr. Nafissa Cisse-Egbuonye said.
Lead exposure can be detrimental to children. It can lead to brain damage, and it can also stunt learning and behavioral development. The CDC said even low levels of lead can affect IQ and academic achievement.
Doctors use a blood test to measure lead exposure. Treatment depends on how much lead is found in the bloodstream, however, the ultimate goal is to find the source of the lead and stop it.
The most recent data from 2017 shows there were 27 confirmed cases of lead poisoning in Black Hawk County. However, the health department believes there are more cases, but not enough people are getting tested.
For more information about National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, visit: https://www.co.black-hawk.ia.us/264/Childhood-Lead-Poisoning-Prevention-Prog
You can also visit: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/national-lead-poisoning-prevention-week.htm
You can also contact Healthy Homes Coordinator Andrea Magee or Environmental Health Program Manager Jared Parmater at 319-291-2413.