Worcester County Lead Poisoning Prevention Program provides consultation to parents, home owners, renters, landlords, medical offices, and other concerned community members on lead poisoning prevention, testing, and regulations. Education and case management are provided to parents with children who have elevated blood lead levels. Call 410-632-1100 for Worcester County Health Department's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.
What is lead poisoning?
Lead poisoning is one of the most common environmental child health problems in the United States and effects 3 to 4 million children. Lead is especially harmful to children younger than 6, but anyone who eats, drinks, or breathes something which has too much lead can get lead poisoning. Although chipping paint and paint dust are the most common sources of lead, lead can also be found in ceramic cups and dishes, fishing sinkers, craft supplies, leaded crystal, spray paint, and even in soil and water.
What are symptoms of lead poisoning?
The symptoms are not always obvious, and some children may not show symptoms right away. Symptoms can include learning delays, fussiness, stomach pain, appetite changes, hyperactivity, trouble sleeping, and in extreme cases, seizures, coma and death.
How is Worcester County affected?
About 75% of houses and apartments built before 1978 in the United States contain lead paint. In our own county, Pocomoke, Newark, Whaleyville, Girdletree, and Stockton have a high percentage of housing units built before 1950. If you rent an apartment or home, be sure to ask to see certification that the property is lead free. If you are a property owner, be sure to register, treat and inspect your pre-1950 rental properties before you rent them. If you are planning to renovate, follow paint removal and disposal safety guidelines
How can I find out if my child has been exposed to lead?
Lead testing is recommended for all children at 12 and 24 months of age. Many parents are not aware that children entering pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade in the Worcester County public school system are required to provide the school with documentation that the child has been tested for lead. If you are interested in having a lead test, contact your doctor. If your child does not have a doctor or health insurance, call 410-629-0164 and ask for the MCHP program.
What can I do to protect my child?
Teach children to wash their hands often and take shoes off before coming in the house. Check craft/hobby item labels to make sure they do not contain lead. Do not store or prepare food in open cans. Provide your child with a healthy diet full of foods high in iron, calcium, and vitamin C. These foods help reduce the absorption of lead into your child’s body and strengthen your child’s resistance to lead poisoning. If access to healthy foods for your child is a problem due to finances, call Maryland's WIC program at 410-749-2488 to see if you qualify.
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