People often forget that lead exposure is still a serious risk in our country. The levels at which children are exposed to lead is continuing to decline, but that doesn’t mean the danger is completely behind us. It’s important to take the proper precautions to prevent exposure to lead, especially in children. Staying educated on the risks associated with lead exposure is a good start.
These three organizations are making it their mission to eliminate the threat of lead poisoning in our communities. They are dedicated to the elimination of lead in our environment and the education of parents to help prevent the health implications of lead poisoning.
CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is on the frontlines of many public health issues. They are no different with lead poisoning, and are seeking to eliminate the threat once and for all.
Like the majority of lead prevention programs, the CDC is focusing on lead poisoning in children. Lead is not safe for anyone to ingest, but children are the most vulnerable to the long-term effects of lead poisoning.
The Lead Contamination Control Act of 1988 was what set this program in motion, and it’s been making progress ever since. So far, this program has funded nearly 60 other programs of its kind at state and local levels. They have helped train professionals in detecting lead poisoning as well as assisted states in testing children who would otherwise go unchecked. The program has also created the Childhood Blood Lead Surveillance System that provides national data on their efforts.
The goal of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is to eliminate lead poisoning as a public health concern by the year 2020.
Lead Screening During Pregnancy
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published a paper in 2012 that details the precautions that expecting mother who have been exposed to lead need to take. Exposure to lead during pregnancy or lactation isn’t just a danger to the mother, but the child as well. Children who are exposed to lead in the womb can experience multiple adverse affects while developing, with one of the more common results being a lower IQ.
This screening program aims to monitor and treat the blood lead levels in pregnant women. A troublesome amount of lead found in the blood of potential mothers has shrunk to 1% of women, but that’s more than nothing. These screenings help to catch lead poisoning before it can do any damage to the baby.
This program assists in informing women about the dangers in their own home. If a woman has a dangerous amount of lead in her blood, the child could be at risk if the environment doesn’t change. Continuous screenings are necessary in these cases. Women who plan to breast feed also risk passing the poisonous lead along, so it’s recommended that they use artificial breast milk until the blood-lead level decreases.
State Lead Programs
One of the biggest tools against battling lead poisoning is your local lead prevention initiative. Most states have some form of prevention, screening or surveillance method in place. The CDC funds many of these programs.
These programs are some of the most important in the fight against lead exposure. States like Louisiana have partnered with a local WIC (Women, Infants and Children) clinic to offer screenings for at-risk children. New York is compiling data and trying to find the most prevalent sources of lead exposure.
State-run programs are an important piece to combating lead poisoning in children. They often have a better understanding of their local risk than federal agencies do.
These programs are some of the frontrunners in the prevention of lead poisoning, but they aren’t acting alone. Here are some other programs you might be interested in researching further:
- EPS’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Program
- Lead Free Kids
- Best Practices for Lead at Outdoor Shooting Ranges
- Local efforts
- Dieting and Lead Prevention
Lead is still a grave danger facing our children, so it’s important to support the programs that are making a difference.