Vermont Health Department Highlights the Importance of Preventing Childhood Lead Poisoning

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 27, 2005

CONTACT: Communication Office
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – Every year, approximately 310,000 children across the United States and more than 350 in Vermont are lead poisoned. The most common way children are lead poisoned is from exposure to lead paint, which is commonly found in homes built before 1978. 

Disturbing the lead paint allows dust to settle on toys, windowsills and floors. Children can then easily swallow bits of dust, contaminated dirt, and paint chips. Children may also be exposed to lead through home health remedies (e.g., arzacon and greta) and imported candies.

Lead poisoning can affect nearly every system in the body. Lead poisoning often occurs with no obvious symptoms. The only way to test for lead poisoning is by asking your health care provider for a blood lead test.

“We can work together in Vermont to keep our children safe from lead poisoning,” said Vermont Health Commissioner Paul Jarris, MD. “Lead is a hidden danger. It’s normal for children to pick up things and put them in their mouths. Testing children for lead at ages 1 and 2 detects lead poisoning.”

Childhood lead poisoning is preventable. The Health Department recommends that children be kept away from areas that may be contaminated with lead, and:

Lead-safe work practices are taught during a free Essential Maintenance Practice class, offered periodically in locations throughout the state. Call the Vermont Department of Health for information about the class.

For more information on childhood lead poisoning prevention programs offered in your area call the Vermont Department of Health at 1-800-439-8550 or (802) 865-7786 or visit www.healthyvermonters.info. For general information about lead poisoning or testing your home for lead hazards, contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323), or visit www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead.