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> Health Department Participates in Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Oct. 23–29

 N E W S   R E L E A S E 

Your Partner for a Healthy Community
Frank Kruppa — Public Health Director


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

For more information contact:
Gail Birnbaum, RN at (607) 274-6604


Health Department Participates in Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Oct. 23–29

October 19, 2011 (Ithaca, N.Y.) – Nearly a quarter of a million children living in the United States have blood lead levels high enough to cause significant damage to their health estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based on data from a 2003-2004 national survey. Major sources of lead exposure among U.S. children are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings.

To increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning prevention, the Tompkins County Health Department, along with the CDC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is participating in National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week October 23-29. This year’s theme, “Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future”, underscores the importance of testing your home, testing your child, and learning how to prevent lead poisoning’s serious health effects.

Tompkins County Health Department is collaborating with local Boy Scout Troop # 2 and Lowe’s to provide lead poisoning prevention information at Lowe’s on Sunday, October 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 pm.

Despite the continued presence of lead in the environment, lead poisoning is entirely preventable. “Currently, we are providing services to six children ranging in age from 1-6 years of age with elevated blood lead levels in Tompkins County”, states Gail Birnbaum, Community Health Nurse, Tompkins County Health Department. Ms. Birnbaum serves as the Lead Coordinator for the Department. The Health Department provides testing for lead sources in the child’s environment as well as educating parents about lead poisoning effects and prevention. According to Ms. Birnbaum, common sources of lead found locally have been associated with lead-based paint present in pre-1975 housing, antique doors, furnishings and china, as well as specialty hobbies involving lead based solder and fishing sinkers.

Parents can reduce exposure to lead in many ways for their children. Here are some simple things you can do to protect your family:

  1. Get your Home Tested. Before you buy an older home, ask for a lead inspection.
  2. Get your Child Tested. Even if your young children seem healthy, ask your doctor to test them for lead.
  3. Get the Facts. Tompkins County Health Department can provide you with helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning. Contact 607-274-6688 or www.tompkinscountygov/health/lead/index. Cornell Cooperative Extension can also provide useful information about lead-safe practices when renovating. Contact them at 607-272-2292 or