EPA Marking Lead Poisoining Prevention Week

October 24, 2011

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is recognizing National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week this week to raise awareness of lead poisoning in children. For children, even low levels of exposure to lead can cause a host of developmental effects such as learning disabilities, decreased intelligence and speech, language, and behavioral problems, which can affect children for a lifetime, the agency notes.

"Lead poisoning can have life-altering health effects, especially on our children. But it is entirely preventable if we take the right steps to protect our children in all the places where they live, learn and play," says Lisa P. Jackson, EPA Administrator. "National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week gives us the opportunity to strengthen our awareness and prevention efforts and ensure parents have the tools they need to protect their children against lead exposure every day of the year."

Major sources of lead exposure among children are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings, EPA states. Lead most commonly occurs in the environment as a result of improper repair or renovation of pre-1978 homes. Despite the continued presence of lead in the environment, lead poisoning is entirely preventable, it notes.

This year's NLPPW theme, Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future, underscores the importance of testing homes and children. EPA is urging people living in homes built before 1978 to get them inspected. It is also telling parents to get their children tested for lead by their doctors. EPA is encouraging people to visit www.leadfreekids.org to learn more.