Awareness, consequences of lead poisoning focus of open house at First State

4 DE-LEAD photo group

First State Community Action Agency held a De-Lead Open House event Wednesday as part of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, October 25-31. In photo, from left: Sharon McPhatter (De-Lead Program Coordinator, First State), Peggy Strine (FSCAA Board Chair), Dr. Ming Lou (Division of Public Health), Eugene Dvornick (FSCAA Board member), William Litzinger (Division of Public Health), Scott Smith (De-Lead Staff, First State), Stell Parker Selby (City of Milton), Maria Bynum (Housing & Urban Development- Delaware), Bernice Edwards, Winton Hill III (FSCAA Board member), Fritzy Rodriguez (De-Lead Staff, First State), and Charles Kistler (De-Lead Program Manager, First State).

GEORGETOWN – To raise awareness of the consequences of lead poisoning among children and pregnant women who live in homes built before 1978, First State Community Action Agency held a De-Lead Open House event Wednesday as part of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, October 25-31.

Representatives from First State, Delaware Division of Public Health and HUD spoke on the consequences of lead and lead poisoning in children and provided information about the De-Lead Delaware Program and its success in making Delaware homes Lead-safe. The De-Lead Delaware program removes lead-based paint hazards from single family homes and rental units and is administered in Kent and Sussex Counties by First State Community Action Agency.

The De-lead Delaware Program is supported by a grant from the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development through the Delaware Department of Health & Social Services Division of Public Health and administered by First State Community Action Agency as the primary subcontractor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly half a million children living in the United States have elevated blood lead levels that may cause significant damage to their health.

The estimate is based on children with a blood lead level of 5 micrograms per deciliter or higher using data from national surveys conducted in 2007-2008 and 2009-2010. Major sources of lead exposure to U.S. children include lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in deteriorating buildings. Children can also be exposed to lead from additional sources including contaminated drinking water, take-home exposures from a workplace, and lead in soil. Despite the continued presence of lead in the environment, lead poisoning is entirely preventable.

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

In efforts to prevent lead, 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:

  • Get your home tested. Before buying an older home, ask for a lead inspection;
  • Get your child tested. Even if your young children seem healthy, ask your doctor to test them for lead;
  • Get the facts. Your local health department can provide you with helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning.

The De-lead Delaware Program is supported by a grant from the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development through the Delaware Department of Health & Social Services Division of Public Health and administered by First State Community Action Agency as the primary subcontractor. The program falls under First State’s H.E.L.P. initiative (Healthy Homes, Energy-Efficient, Lead-Abatement, People Centric) which provides cost-savings measures aimed at eliminating unhealthy conditions and elevating the quality of health in the homes.

For more information about lead poisoning, prevention, and abatement (De-Lead Delaware Program), contact Sharon McPhatter at 856-7761 ext. 273 or call 1-800-424-LEAD.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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