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Week draws attention to lead poison concerns
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi is joining other states in an effort to bring attention to renovation safety concerns during National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Oct. 19-25.
Jane Clary, Mississippi State University’s Extension Service health specialist, said the Mississippi State Department of Health reports that hundreds of children are poisoned each year by lead, which can cause a variety of health problems, including brain damage and even death.
“Adults can reduce exposure to lead by cleaning children’s hands frequently and by watching what children put into their mouths,” Clary said. “If children are frequently in a home that was built before 1978, parents may want to request a simple blood test for young children by age 1 to 2. Determining exposure and eliminating it can prevent a lifetime of irreversible damage.”
Bobbie Shaffett, Extension family resource management specialist, said lead poisoning is the most preventable environmental disease of young children.
“The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued a rule that will go into effect in 2010 requiring contractors to be trained to prevent lead contamination when performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child-care facilities and schools built before 1978,” Shaffett said. “Property owners and contractors can learn to use simple lead-safe work practices, such as working wet and wiping up dust and debris to avoid spreading lead-based paint used in older homes.”
The MSU Extension Service is offering a free HUD-approved course to teach these simple methods from 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 17. The course will be broadcast from the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona to other selected MSU sites, including the following: the Newton and Oktibbeha County Extension Offices, the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond, and the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi.
To register, contact Shaffett at (662) 325-3080 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact the family resource management area agent at your MSU Extension Service’s county office. Request the “Don’t Spread Lead” programs that are available to groups in your community.