UTICA, NY – This week, October 25-31, the Lead-Free Mohawk Valley (LFMV) Coalition is observing National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2020 to raise awareness about the danger of lead poisoning, educate parents on how to reduce lead risks in their environment, prevent its serious health effects, and learn about the importance of having children tested. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collaborate with local community partners to empower families to take action.
This year’s observance takes on new significance in light of the COVID pandemic with families spending much more time in their homes. Lead can be found in many homes built before 1978, including in drinking water, soil, and lead-based paint. The same health precautions like cleaning frequently touched surfaces, washing your hands, and removing outer clothing and shoes when entering the home can help reduce the risk of exposure to coronavirus and lead poisoning.
In observance of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, LFMV will focus its efforts on raising community awareness about the importance of getting homes and children tested and learning how to prevent the serious health effects of exposure to lead:
- Get the Facts: Make your friends and family aware that lead poisoning is still a problem in our area.
Oneida County has had one of the highest levels of childhood lead poisoning in New York State, and Herkimer County levels are double the state average. Utica’s incidence rate of elevated levels of lead in children’s blood in recent years was greater than Flint, Michigan at the time of its well-known lead-related water crisis. Stay informed by following www.facebook.com/taketheleadinutica.
- Get Your Home Tested: Make your home safer by having your living space tested for lead.
LEAD IN PAINT: Find out if you qualify for assistance through the Lead Safe Utica Program. Eligible families must live in Utica, have a home built prior to 1978, have a child under age 6 spending significant time in the home, and must meet income guidelines. For more information about how to apply, contact the HomeOwnershipCenter at 315-724-4197 or visit www.leadsafeutica.com.
LEAD IN WATER: Many water utility providers are working to identify and replace lead service lines in pre-1940 housing. Customers living in older homes are encouraged to get their water tested for free. For more information, contact Mohawk Valley Water Authority at 315-792-0338 or www.mvwa.us/waterquality/leadawareness.aspx.
- Get Your Child Tested: Make sure your child is tested at age 1 and 2 since a simple blood test can detect lead.
NYS Law requires all children be tested for lead at age 1 and again at age 2 by their doctor or health care provider. Make sure your child has had a lead test. If they need a lead test and you don’t have a doctor that you see regularly, there are clinics in Utica providing lead testing right on site. Learn more at www.leadfreemv.org/facts.