by Aimee Tyson, Program Manager, Community Services, Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority
Do you have children under the age of 6 in your home or do you have children under the age of 6 that spend more than 6 hour a week in your home? If your home was built prior to 1978, you may be putting them at risk of lead poisoning.
Due to the news stories about the lead poisoning crisis in Flint, Michigan most people have heard about the detrimental effects of lead poisoning in children. Childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children, yet approximately half a million U.S. children have elevated blood lead levels.
Lead is a naturally occurring metal that was added to paint and gasoline until 1978 and in rare cases is still used in consumer products. People are most commonly exposed to lead through paint, soil, and water.
Lead poisoning is bad for everyone but is especially dangerous for pregnant women and children under the age of 6. It is not possible to reverse the negative effects of lead poisoning.
Lead poisoning causes the following in children:
- Damage to the brain and nervous system, including lowered IQ scores
- Slowed growth and development
- Learning and behavior problems including ADD
- Hearing and speech problems
Children with lead poisoning have a higher incidence of dropping out of school and higher likelihood of involvement with juvenile justice systems.
What Can You Do to Make Your Home Lead Safe?
You can make efforts to make your home lead safe using a licensed and certified lead contractor. If you have a low household income and lack the financial means to make your home lead safe or if you are a renter with a low income, the City of Lancaster and the Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority may be able to help.
In addition to the efforts undertaken by the Partnership for Public Health (see their website at https://www.partnershipforpublichealth.org, the City of Lancaster and the Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority are helping low- and moderate-income homeowners and renters in Lancaster County through the provision of a grant to reduce or remove the lead based paint hazards in the home. Click on the graphic below to download a flyer explaining the details of the program for residents of Lancaster City and County.