Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Get the lead out

Lead is a serious risk to children's health

On Sunday, June 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Carousel Pavilion at Lighthouse Park, New Haven, the New Haven Health Department's Bureau of Environmental Health and the Yale-New Haven Lead Program will hold the 9th Annual Lead Awareness Picnic.

The community event aims to educate local families about childhood lead poisoning prevention through discussion, educational giveaways and entertainment.

New Haven Health Department’s Environmental Health Director, Paul Kowalski, will join representatives from the Health Department, the Yale-New Haven Lead Program, other service agencies and local entertainers in providing lead poisoning prevention information designed to teach parents and children how to reduce the risks of lead poisoning.

Health Department staff will be on site to answer questions and educational materials, and there will be lead screening of toys and dishware. Giveaways and refreshments will be available. Childhood lead poisoning is a serious issue – an estimated 890,000 children between the ages of 1 and 5 live with elevated blood lead levels in the United States.

Locally, health care providers reported that 259 children tested positive for elevated blood lead levels in New Haven in 2008, 48 of whom had moderate to high levels. The event at Lighthouse is an effort to bring down the number of lead cases found in the state, organizers said.

- Amber Simone Jones

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