Lead poisoning prevention efforts focused on Hamilton
September 29, 1999
Ingesting lead is often a concern for parents of children under the age of 6, but for parents living in the Hamilton community south of Craig it might be a special concern.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (DPHE) launched a lead poisoning prevention program across Colorado and Hamilton was one of the focus areas of the program. The screening program that took place in Hamilton during August provided free blood tests for children from the ages 1 to 3.
Parents of eligible children were notified through postcards and local newspapers and asked to schedule an appointment through the local nurse or health department for there children. The tests took 15 minutes and parents were notified of the results as soon as the tests were completed. Results of the testing are being compiled by the lead poisioning prevention program and will be released in late October, according to Terry Tiller-Taylor, program director.
The program focused on areas of Colorado where children are believed to have higher risk of exposure to hazardous lead levels. Specific areas were targeted based on the age of housing in the area and the number of families below the poverty level living there who have children under age 6.
The age of housing is a factor because most lead poisoning in children is caused by chipping and peeling of lead based paint on interior and exterior walls. The use of lead-based paint was banned in the United States in 1978. Dangerous lead dust is also created when doors, windows and other painted surfaces rub against each other. The dust is also created when older homes are being remodeled and sanding or window replacement takes place.
Ingestion of lead can cause harm to a child’s nervous system and can cause slow growth and development. This can lead to hearing damage, headaches, behavioral problems and learning disabilities.