Curran Highlights the Dangers of Childhood Lead Poisoning
Recognizes National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week with Tips and Precautions
MINEOLA, NY – In recognition of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran today joined Nassau County Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein and members of the Nassau County Department of Health’s lead poisoning prevention team to remind residents that lead poisoning is one of the most preventable childhood health hazards.
“Our Department of Health annually reviews nearly 40,000 pediatric blood tests for elevated blood lead level,” said Curran. “And they immediately investigate any cases of lead exposure to ensure that the source is removed as quickly as possible. There is no safe blood-lead level in children.”
On hand today were items found by the Department of Health Investigators as sources of lead exposure. The items were discovered while investigating recent cases of Nassau County children who had been sickened by the toxic metal.
While many cases of lead poisoning involve leaded paint found in homes built prior to 1978, sources of lead poisoning have also included:
- certain foreign cosmetics, ceremonial products, and make-up products,
- foreign medicines,
- toys and jewelry,
- imported foods, spices, and candies,
- home goods including cookware, picture frames, and pottery.
“Lead continues to be dangerous because it can spread throughout the body, affect almost every organ, and cause permeant health problems,” said Curran. “Children are at especially high risk because of the rapid growth and development of their nervous system and their tendency to put things into their mouth.”
Initial lead exposure can go oftentimes go unrecognized because there may be no obvious symptoms. Children who suffer lead poisoning may experience a lifetime of:
- Slowed growth and development
- Learning and behavior problems
- Hearing and speech problems
Nassau County’s public water supply meets all water quality standards and does not pose a lead exposure hazard. However, older lead plumbing can contaminate water as it travels through.
“As a precaution, if your water has not been run for an extended period, it is safer to run the cold tap water for two to three minutes before use,” said Curran. “Hot tap water should never be used for consumption.”
Additional steps you can take to protect your family include:
- Make sure your children are screened in accordance with the law and medical guidance.
- Use products and foods made in a location with lead-manufacturing standards, such as the United States.
- Be very inquisitive about foreign products with no safety labels.
- Keep children away from products that might contain lead, such as glossy metallic picture frames, decorative objects, and even sports equipment, such as lead fishing weights.
- Avoid using imported products that may be contaminated with lead.
- Renovate safely and use a contractor certified by the EPA.
“The health and safety of our residents is always our top priority,” said Curran. “We want to remind our residents that lead poisoning is preventable by avoiding and removing these known sources of exposure.”