10/26/10 -- District Hosts Lead Poisoning Prevention Week
Week-long Activities Focus on Protecting Child and Family Health
Lead exposure can cause serious health effects, particularly among children and pregnant women. To raise awareness of lead and its impact, the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) is spearheading a series of programs, beginning today, Tuesday, October 26, for National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW), October 24–30, 2010. The week’s programs are designed to educate District residents on ways to identify and safeguard themselves, especially children, against household lead exposures.
This year’s theme is Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that nearly 250,000 children living in the United States have blood lead levels high enough to require public health intervention, based on data from a 2003–2004 national survey. Even low levels of lead exposure can cause a variety of health affects in children, such as learning disabilities, delayed speech and language, and behavioral problems.
“Lead poisoning is preventable and that is why raising awareness is perhaps the single most important step we can take to combat this environmental hazard,” says Christophe A.G. Tulou, Acting Director of DDOE. “The activities we have planned during this lead prevention awareness week will provide District residents with resources necessary to help them better understand the ramifications of lead poisoning and ways in which they can protect themselves and their families.”
Major sources of lead exposure among children are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings, especially in homes built before 1978. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, lead paint poisoning has already impacted more than one million children . Parents are encouraged to get their homes tested and have young children tested for lead poisoning. A community fair at the Reeves Center will offer free screening to District residents, specifically children, 6 months to 6 years old, as well as expectant mothers.
The DC Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water), one of the organizations participating in the District’s week-long lead prevention awareness activities, will be on hand to share information about sources of lead exposure among residents. According to DC Water, lead levels in District drinking water are below regulatory requirements. “Lead in drinking water is an issue that affects individual households in the District,” said DC Water General Manager George S. Hawkins. “We share the responsibility with residents in identifying lead sources and minimizing exposure.”
Planned activities throughout the week will not only target children, but also building contractors. According to Director Tulou, building contractors are strongly encouraged to attend all activities, particularly an EPA Region III forum that will review EPA’s Lead Renovation Repair and Painting Rule. In April 2010, the EPA’s Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule to reduce contamination associated with the removal of lead-based paint chips and dust generated when homes are remodeled became effective. The rule requires training and certification of all remodeling contractors to engage in safe lead paint handling procedures.
The District’s lead poisoning prevention awareness activities include:
October 26, 2010 - 6:30 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.
Renovate Right for Landlords, Home Owners, and Contractors
1800 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SE
October 27, 2010 – 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Community Outreach and Education Event
Petworth Metro Center - 3700 Georgia Avenue, NW
October 28, 2010 – 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Community Outreach and Education Event
Home Depot – 901 Rhode Island Avenue, NE
October 29 – 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Hot Spot Street Fair
14th & Irving Street, NW
October 30, 2010 – 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Community Health Fair*
The Reeves Center – 14th & U Street, NW
*Lead screening available on-site.
You can view this News Release at http://www.dcwater.com/news/listings/press_release478.cfm