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April 11
Wake Encourages Testing for Lead Poisoning
Wake Environmental Services (ES) encourages parents to have their children younger than 6 tested for exposure to lead with a simple blood test at their family pediatrician. The ES lead poisoning prevention program helps to test and respond to lead poisoning cases. Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and at very high levels, seizures, comas and death.

There are over one million children affected by lead today. Lead poisoning can occur with no obvious symptoms and usually goes unrecognized. Young children are at higher risk because they are growing rapidly and more likely to put their hands into their mouths after touching surfaces or objects that may contain lead dust.

ES is notified when a child under age 6 has elevated blood lead levels. In certain cases an investigation is conducted in the child's home to identify and remove the sources of lead. The ES program also investigates schools with children younger than 6 years old and day cares built before 1978 that have deteriorating paint. These investigations are initiated when ES receives referrals from local, state and federal inspectors or officials.

Common sources for lead exposure include:
  • Lead-based paint that can flake and cause dust as it ages (banned for use in housing in 1978)
  • Vinyl mini blinds sold before 1997
  • Herbs and spices that were grown in soils contaminated with lead
  • Some home remedies (e.g., Greta and Azarcon)
  • Some imported cosmetics
  • Certain candies imported from Mexico and Asia
  • Lead glaze in some ceramic containers, cookware or tableware
  • Certain toys and toy jewelry
  • Bullets and batteries
  • Old water pipes
View more information on lead poisoning here or go to www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead.

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