What Will it Take to Eliminate Childhood Lead Poisoning?

Oct 24, 2012, 5:40 PM

Childhood lead poisoning is 100% preventable. So what's stopping us from eliminating it all together?

This week marks the 13th annual National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, a chance to energize efforts to keep all kids safe from the dangers of lead-based paint.

Nearly one million children are affected by lead poisoning in the United States today, with 38 million U.S. households currently at risk. Lead poisoning knows no boundaries and can affect children of all races and ethnicities, in rural and urban communities, and at every socioeconomic level.

Recently, the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Ad Council rolled out a new partnership with the goal of eliminating childhood lead poisoning in the United States. Facts about lead poisoning:

  • If not detected early, lead paint poisoning causes lifelong learning disabilities, hearing loss, speech delays, developmental disabilities and aggressive/violent behaviors
  • Children under age 6 are most at risk for lead poisoning
  • Any home built before 1978 is at risk for lead-based paint hazards 

Lead poisoning prevention resources are available at www.LeadFreeKids.org, including information on:

Watch a Public Service Announcement from the Ad Council about the danger lead-based paint continues to have on young children.

Read more on lead poisoning prevention:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a map of healthy home efforts from health departments across the country.
  • HUD’s Healthy Home Rating System helps identify household conditions that affect health and safety. Download the HHRS Hazards Chart to learn more about all dangers – in addition to lead – found in the home.

>>Read a Q&A on local lead laws and their impact on ending childhood lead poisoning.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.