HHSA Program Helps Prevent Childhood Lead Poisoning

HHSA's Childhood Lead Prevention Program teamed up with several community partners to offer free lead testing during National Lead Prevention Week. The event was held at Cherokee Point Elementary School in City Heights. More than 300 children were tested throughout the day.

The County’s Health and Human Services Agency’s (HHSA) Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program began an early prevention initiative in 2004 to provide services to children with lower lead levels. Since then, the number of children with elevated levels of lead in their blood has decreased by 61 percent. The only sure way to know a child is lead poisoned is to have the child tested. More than 49,000 children in San Diego County were tested in 2009.

“Early detection of lead poisoning is critical,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts, District 4, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “Lead is a silent attacker that can cause severe developmental problems in children and chronic exposure to even low levels of lead can have serious consequences.”

“Lead poisoning is preventable,” said Nick Macchione, Director of HHSA. “Many people have the perception that the danger of lead poisoning has gone away since the lead in paint was removed beginning in 1979. But some San Diego County residents live in housing built prior to that year and paint is still the number one source of lead poisoning in our children, followed by home remedies and pottery.”

For more information about lead poisoning, visit www.sdlead.org or call 619-515-6694.