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Health department marks National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

WOODSTOCK – To increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning prevention, the McHenry County Department of Health, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is participating in National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week Sunday through Oct. 26.

Parents can reduce a child’s exposure to lead in many ways. Here are some simple things you can do:

• Get homes tested: Before buying or remodeling a home built before 1978, ask for a lead inspection.

• Get children screened: Even if young children seem healthy, ask your doctor about a lead risk assessment to determine possible lead exposure. A blood lead test may be performed if a child is determined to be at risk. The CDC recommends screening children younger than age 6 (preferably by ages 1 and 2).

• Get the facts: The department of health can provide information about preventing childhood lead poisoning at 815-334-4500.

The CDC estimates nearly half a million children living in the United States have elevated blood lead levels that may cause significant damage to their health. Major sources of lead exposure to U.S. children include lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in older buildings and during renovation. Children also can be exposed to lead through contaminated drinking water, take-home exposures from a workplace and lead in soil.  

For information on the lead program, visit http://www.idph.state.il.us/illinoislead.

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