OPA: LEAD: Get Your Child Tested!

{Children playing outside in the sunshine.}
LEAD:  Get Your Child Tested!
The Facts About Lead
Lead is toxic metal that can permanently damage a child’s brain.  Experts agree that there is no safe level of lead exposure.  Children are at particularly high risk for lead poisoning because their bodies and brains are still developing.  Small children tend to put their hands and other objects in their mouths, further increasing their frequency of exposure.  Even a low exposure to lead can harm children over time.
Do You Know You Have a Right to Have Your Child Tested for Lead?

A simple blood test can determine if your child has had a significant exposure to lead.  As of January 1, 2009 all primary pediatric care providers must test children age 9 months – 35 months of age at least annually and any child between three years and six years who meet certain screening criteria. If your child shows a blood lead level greater than “10” (micrograms per deciliter) your doctor will automatically make a referral to  the Department of Public Health (DPH). DPH will assist you in determining the source of the lead poisoning.
{Children playing marbles outside in their yard.}
I Live In A Rural Area, My Child Isn’t In Danger of Lead Poisoning, Right?

Wrong.  Lead was used for many years, before 1978, in paints and products found in homes, buildings, and schools.  You do not have to live in the city to be exposed to lead.  Many rural farmhouses, outbuildings, schools, and repurposed buildings can contain lead.  Lead can also be found in toys, contaminated soil, drinking water pipes, and other products.
How Can Lead Affect My Child?

The signs and symptoms of lead poisoning may include:
•   Irritability
•   Fatigue
•   Abdominal pain
•   Vomiting
•   Reduced attention span
•   Difficulty sleeping
Possible Long Term Health Effects of Lead Exposure
• Anemia
• Learning Disabilities
• Delayed Growth
• Behavioral Difficulties
• Hearing Damage
• Kidney Damage
• Intellectual Disabilities
• Brain Injury
• Seizures
• Coma
• Death
Who Pays for the Testing?

If your child receives HUSKY (Medicaid), testing and treatment are paid through these programs.  If you have private insurance, most pediatricians will do a lead test as part of an annual check-up.  If your doctor doesn’t do the screening test, ask for him/her to do so.  If your doctor declines to conduct the testing, notify the state Department of Public Health Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Program.   If your child is not insured, you can have your child screened for free by calling your local health department.
{A number 2 lead pencil that has been chewed.}
What are Some Ways I Can Protect My Child from Lead Poisoning?

•     Keep children away from chipped or peeling paint.
•     Check your home for lead.  Most homes built before
      1978 contain some lead.  Have your home inspected,
      and/or ask your landlord about lead.
•     Keep your home clean and wash children’s toys, pacifiers,
       and bottles regularly.
•     Filter your water or run cold tap water for at least one minute
       before using. 
•     Avoid buying nonbrand, discount, or old toys, and check
       lead recall lists regularly.
•     Encourage children to wash their hands.
Where Can I Get More Information?

For more information about the effects of lead and lead removal, please contact your local health department or:

Department of Public Health (D.P.H.)
Lead Poisoning Prevention
and Control Program
410 Capitol Ave.
P.O. Box 340308
Hartford, CT 06134
(860) 509-7299 (Voice)
(860) 509-7295 (Fax)

Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Traumatic
Brain Injury
The Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities
(860) 297-4300 (Voice)
(860) 297-4380 (TTY)
1-800-842-7303 (V/TTY) CT only
e-mail: OPA-Information@ct.gov
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Content Last Modified on 2/27/2014 2:48:28 PM