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> Health Lead Poisoning Prevention
  LEAD INFO

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HEALTH DEPARTMENT
55 Brown Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 274-6600

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Lead Poisoning PreventionTCHD logo


Protect Your Children...
Learn About Lead!

 


Prevent Lead Poisoning. Get your home tested. Get your child tested. Get the facts! Click here…

Testing for lead.

“At one and two, testing for lead is what you do.”

It’s the law in New York State!
Your child’s doctor must test for lead during the Well Child exam.
Ask for a lead test when your child is one year old and again at two years old.

 


What are the dangers of lead?

Lead poisoning is a serious health problem for children. Lead poisoning damages growing cells and tissues and can cause any of the following problems in children:

  • a lower IQ
  • hearing loss
  • anemia
  • kidney damage
  • growth problems

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How do children get lead poisoning?

For many years most house paints were made with lead in them. For that reason the paint in a lot of older homes contains lead. In an older house, your child can easily be exposed to the lead in old paint in these ways:

A new coat of paint may cover up the danger. But chipping and crumbling plaster walls can expose the old lead paint and the danger returns.

If your child has lead in his or her blood, new and growing cells and tissues continue to be damaged. The more lead in your child's blood, the more damage it causes.

Lead Free Kids for a Healthy Future

 


How to protect children from lead poisoning.

Keep your child away from sources of lead.

  • find out if there is a dangerous amount of lead in your house or apartment.
  • keep children away from peeling paint and broken plaster.
  • wash your child's hands and face often to remove any lead dust or dirt.
  • wash your child's toys often, especially teething toys.

Keep your home or apartment free of lead.

  • have the paint and plaster on your walls tested for lead before you renovate or remodel.

Keep your community safe from lead poisoning.

  • work to keep lead dust out of the environment. If you see uncontrolled grinding or sanding of exterior paint in your residential area, find out if the surfaces have been tested for lead. Or notify the Tompkins County Health Department at 274-6688.

 


Lead Exposure Risk Assessment for Children Questionnaire

In addition to the required testing of all children for lead with a blood lead test at one year of age and again at age two, assessment of risk for lead exposure should be done at each well-child visit, or at least annually for each child six months to six years of age. The questions on the Assessment Questionnaire serve as a risk assessment tool based on currently accepted public health guidelines. Children found to be at risk for lead exposure should receive a blood lead test whenever such risk is identified. Download Assessment for Children Questionnaire (PDF). Source: NYSDOH

 


What Your Child’s Blood Lead Test Means

The blood lead test tells you how much lead is in your child's blood. Lead can harm a child's growth, behavior, and ability to learn. The lower the test result, the better.

Most lead poisoning occurs when children lick, swallow, or breathe in dust from old lead paint. Most homes built before 1978 have old lead paint, often under newer paint. If paint peels, cracks, or is worn down, the chips and dust from the old lead paint can spread onto floors, windowsills and all around your home. Lead paint dust can then get onto children's hands and toys, and into their mouths.

Most children have had some contact with lead in old paint, soil, plumbing, or another source. This is why New York State requires doctors to test all children with a blood lead test at age 1 year and again at age 2 years. For children up to age six years, your doctor or nurse should ask you at every well child visit about ways your child may have had contact with lead. Children who have had contact with lead should be tested.

A high test result using blood from a fingertip should be checked again with a second test using blood taken from a vein (often in the arm). If the second result is still high, you should follow the steps below. [Source]

Test Result
in micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL)
Next Steps
0-4
  • There is very little lead in your child's blood.
  • The average lead test result for young children is about 2 mcg/dL.
5-9
  • Your child has a little more lead than most children.
  • Talk with your doctor and local health department to find out how your child might have come into contact with lead, and ways to protect your child.
  • Your doctor might want to test your child again in 3 to 6 months.
10-14
  • Your child's lead level is high. A result of 10 or higher requires action.
  • Your doctor and local health department will talk with you to help you find sources of lead, and ways you can protect your child.
  • Your child should be tested again in 1 to 3 months.
15-44
  • Your child's lead level is quite high. You and your doctor should act quickly.
  • Talk with your doctor or nurse about your child's diet, growth, and development, and possible sources of lead.
  • Talk with your local health department about how to protect your child. They may visit your home to help you find sources of lead.
  • If the lead level is 15 to 24, your child should be tested again in 1 to 3 months.
  • If the lead level is 25 to 44, your child should be tested again in 2 weeks to 1 month.
45 or higher
  • Your child needs medical treatment right away.
  • Your doctor or health department will call you as soon as they get the test result.
  • Your child might have to stay in a hospital, especially if your home has lead.
  • Your local health department will visit your home to help you find sources of lead.
  • Your child should not go back home until the lead sources are removed or fixed.
  • Your child needs to be tested again after treatment.

Source: NYS Department of Health. Download a PDF from the NYSDOH website.

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Lead based paints were manufactured for residential use until 1978. Some lead based paints contained as much as 50 percent lead by dry weight.
When was your house last painted?
% of exterior paint that contained lead:*
• pre-1940: 80%
• 1940–1959: 45%
• 1960–1979: 28%.
*Estimated

Remodeling Safety: Know before you work on your home.

Whether you do it yourself or hire it out, before you remodel or renovate your older (pre-1979) home, learn the latest safe remodeling practices!

  • Have painted surfaces tested before disturbing them. Call Environmental Health (EH) at 274-6688 about sampling and testing services.
  • Interpret results correctly. Make sure you understand how lead content is described, what levels are acceptable, and who may be affected. Ask EH staff to assist you.
  • Proceed responsibly. Tompkins County Sanitary Code considers lead paint dust an environmental hazard. Uncontrolled discharge of lead paint dust is a violation of the code and could result in substantial daily fines. The US-EPA requires contractors to be certified for lead paint removal.
    For more complete info about lead paint removal, click here.

 


Who to call and how to find out more about lead.

To find out more about having your child tested for lead:

  • Call Community Health Services at the Health Department, (607) 274-6604.

To find out more about having your home or apartment tested for lead:

  • Call the Environmental Health Division of the Health Department, (607) 274-6688.

Other web sites with information about lead:

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Check out this CDC Infographic about the dangers of lead poisoning:

 CDC Infographic