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Delaware Health Alert Network #158

October 24, 2008 2:37 pm


Health Advisory
CHILDHOOD BLOOD LEAD SCREENING

As we celebrate the National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (October 19-25, 2008), the Division of Public Health wishes to remind the medical community of Delaware’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act that requires:

  1. Primary health care providers to order blood lead testing of their patients at or around 12 months of age.
  2. Primary health care providers to order blood lead testing of their patients at or around 12 months of age and again at 24 months if their patient is at high risk for lead poisoning.  High risk includes children who are on Medicaid, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and/or other government support services

A recent study of 1-6 year olds residing in zip code areas with the highest risk of lead poisoning in Delaware revealed an 84% testing rate.

A child in a household where a member is exposed to lead risk factors through a hobby and/or an occupation, such as soldering, staining glass, jewelry making, pottery glazing, making miniature lead figures, shooting at firing ranges, painting, and renovation would benefit from annual blood lead testing until that child reaches the age of six.

Today, childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease of young children, yet an estimated 310,000 U.S. children have elevated blood lead levels. A simple blood test can prevent a lifetime ruined by the irreversible cognitive damage caused by lead poisoning. Delaware’s prevalence rate for childhood lead poisoning in 2007 was 0.5% (compared to a national average of 2.2%). High risk zip code areas include 19801, 19802, 19804, 19805, 19806, 19809 - all located in New Castle County.

Delaware’s Office of Lead Poisoning Prevention reminds families that they could reduce the risk of lead poisoning if they followed these safety precautions:

  • Getting their children blood lead tested at least at 12 months of age
  • Ensuring that paint is intact in homes built before 1978
  • Keeping children away from peeling paint that may contain lead - found in most homes built before 1978
  • Frequently washing children’s hands
  • Wet mopping hard surfaces, such as floors and window ledges, weekly
  • Frequent wet cleaning of children’s toys and pacifiers
  • Avoiding dry-scrapping, heating or burning paint
  • For people that work around lead, removing work clothes prior to contact with children.

For more information, please visit the Office of Lead Poisoning Prevention at http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dph/hsp/lead.html

Categories of Health Alert messages:

  • Health Alert: Conveys the highest level of importance; warrants immediate action or attention.
  • Health Advisory: Provides important information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action.
  • Health Update: Provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action.
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