Lead exposure from homes in Wyoming can harm children

Lead exposure from homes in Wyoming can harm children

October 18, 2023

Lead exposure from homes in Wyoming can harm children

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) says lead has been found in many homes in Wyoming, putting children at risk of lead poisoning.

“The harms that children can experience from exposure to lead are very real and very serious. There is no safe blood lead level,” said WDH’s Leademia Prevention Program Manager and Epidemiologist. said Forrest Sharp. “While a child with lead poisoning may not have obvious signs or symptoms that we can see, the damage to the child can be permanent.”

Exposure to lead during childhood can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, learning and behavior problems, growth and development delays, and hearing and language problems.

“We know that about half of homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint, and U.S. Census data shows that more than half of Wyoming homes were built before 1980. “We know that it was done,” Sharp said.

“Unfortunately, in 2022, only 5.1% of Wyoming children under the age of 6 were tested for lead, an increase from 3.1% in 2021,” Sharp said.

Children and adults most often ingest lead by ingesting or inhaling lead dust or by eating lead-containing paint chips or soil. Young children’s bodies are still developing, and their body size means they can absorb more lead, and habits such as mouthing and crawling can introduce more contaminants. , are more likely to experience the negative effects of lead.

Blood lead levels in children tend to increase between the ages of 6 and 12 months and peak between 18 and 24 months of age. “That’s why it’s recommended that children be tested for lead at both 12 and 24 months of age,” Sharp said.

Sharp noted that blood lead tests are seven times higher in Wyoming children at 12 months of age than at 24 months of age.

Recommended actions to prevent lead exposure in the home include:

  • Repairing peeling and chipping of lead-based paint
  • Clean surfaces regularly using wet methods
  • Cleaning children’s hands, pacifiers, and toys
  • take off your shoes before entering the house
  • Wash and shower immediately after doing work or hobbies that involve lead.

Sharp said for homes built before 1978, it’s a good idea to hire a certified inspector or risk assessor to check for lead hazards.

To learn more about the issue of lead poisoning, residents are invited to participate in a series of educational webinars led by federal experts.

  • Children and Lead Exposure: Current Issues: Join us for a live presentation hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on October 26th from 12:00pm to 1:00pm. In this presentation, subject matter experts will discuss CDC’s childhood lead poisoning prevention efforts, recent stories on lead exposure and treatment, and recent recalls. Register here.
  • Understand leads: Join the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a live webinar on lead, its effects, and steps taken to reduce potential lead exposure and poisoning on October 25th from 12:00pm to 1:30pm. please. Register here.
  • Understanding Leads (Spanish): EPA Join us on October 24th from 12:00pm to 1:30pm for a live webinar in Spanish about lead, its effects, and steps that can be taken to reduce potential lead exposure and lead poisoning . Register here.
  • Awareness of Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rules: Join EPA on Oct. 25 from 10-11 a.m. to learn more about EPA’s RRP rules for residential, child care, and preschool RRP projects built before 1978, contractors, and local building codes. and host live presentations for enforcement officials. Please register here.

For more information about lead testing and prevention recommendations in Wyoming, contact Sharp at forrest.sharp@wyo.gov or 307-777-5606.

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