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NSMC Takes Part in Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

Salem, Mass.  – North Shore Medical Center (NSMC) is participating in National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week October 23 – 29, 2011. This week is dedicated to bringing awareness to childhood lead poisoning prevention. The theme this year is “Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly a quarter of a million children are currently living with blood lead levels high enough to damage their health. Lead poisoning can affect growth and development, speech and hearing, and cause learning or behavior problems in children. What most people aren’t aware of are some easy steps you can take in order to prevent it.

The most common sources of lead poisoning are lead based paint and lead based dust, which can be found in homes built before 1978. When the paint chips off, it can then settle on children’s toys. Children are often putting those same toys in their mouth which allows them to easily swallow the lead based dust or paint.

NSMC is offering information to help our community stay informed about prevention efforts and tips that can help reduce your child’s exposure:

In Your Home: Before buying an older home, have it inspected for lead ; use paper towels and a water sprayer to clean up dust in window sills; put furniture in front of cracking or peeling paint.

In Your Children: Even if your children seem perfectly healthy, ask your doctor to have them tested for lead; wash their hands before they eat or sleep; wash their toys often; take their shoes off at the door to prevent tracking in lead dust.

For more information on childhood lead poisoning prevention activities on the North Shore, contact the NSMC lead poisoning prevention specialist, Casandra Farguson, at 978-354-2774.
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