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Lead Poisoning Prevention Week highlights safety

The Kansas City, Mo., Health Department will conduct a lead clinic Oct. 24, as part of its slate of educational activities supporting the seventh annual National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Oct. 23-29.

At this walk-in clinic, children can be tested for the presence of lead in their blood. The clinic will be at the Health Department, 2400 Troost Ave., from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Free lead test kits and free cleaning kits for families with children under 6 will be available Oct. 24-28 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. In addition, lead poisoning prevention displays will be set up in the Health Department’s atrium. This will include: interactive displays for adults and children in English and Spanish; information about lead in candy, jewelry and lunch boxes; and nutrition information about foods that help protect against lead poisoning. Leady the Dinosaur will make special appearances during the week to educate and entertain children.

“Lead poisoning can affect nearly every system in the body and it often occurs with no obvious symptoms,” said Marty Galutia, manager of the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. “The only way to test for lead poisoning is to ask your health care provider for a blood test.”

Every year, approximately 310,000 children across the United States and 2,700 children in Missouri are lead poisoned. The most common way children are poisoned by lead is from exposure to lead paint, which is commonly found in homes built before 1978. Disturbing the lead paint allows dust to settle on toys, windowsills and floors, making it easy for children to swallow bits of dust and paint chips. Children may also be exposed to lead through home health remedies (i.e., azarcon and greta) and imported candies.

“Childhood lead poisoning remains a major environmental health problem in the United States and is entirely preventable. I encourage all parents and caregivers to do their part by preventing childhood exposure to lead,” Galutia said.

For information about childhood lead poisoning prevention efforts and ways to prevent lead poisoning among young children, call the Health Department’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, (816) 513-6048.

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