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    Office Of The Mayor

    Twelfth Annual Don’t Spread Lead Events on May 7 & 8 Educate Parents and Homeowners about Lead Poisoning and Lead Safe Renovations

    (5/3/2010) New Haven, Conn. – May 2010 – The New Haven Health Department’s Bureau of Environmental Health will team up with area businesses to host the 12th annual Don’t Spread Lead event on Friday, May 7, 2010 at Painter’s Supply in New Haven and on Saturday, May 8, 2010 at Grand Paint, in New Haven. Painter’s Supply, located on East Street, and Grand Paint, located on Grand Avenue, will open their doors to childhood lead poisoning educators and provide the perfect venue to reach families and homeowners. This community event is just one part of New Haven’s Don’t Spread Lead Campaign – an effort designed to raise awareness in the community about childhood lead poisoning prevention by educating about lead-safe renovation practices. Paul Kowalski, New Haven Health Department’s environmental health director, will join City health officials to provide lead poisoning prevention information to teach children and parents how to reduce the risks of this serious, yet preventable illness.

    “The need for lead awareness and education within our communities cannot be overstated,” said Kowalski. “Children and parents who are informed about the threat of lead are more likely to take steps in their own homes to help prevent lead poisoning. Friday and Saturday’s Don’t Spread Lead events are one of the city’s several efforts to help educate our families.”

    Children living in homes built before 1978 are at risk for exposure to lead through deteriorated paint, dust and soil that has been contaminated with lead from old paint and past emissions of leaded gasoline.

    Don’t Spread Lead Campaign Press Release, Page 2

    The majority of New Haven’s lead poisoning cases are concentrated in the Fair Haven, Hill, Newhallville and Dixwell neighborhoods where the affected children live predominantly in rental

    housing units. According to Kowalski, “Over the past 15 years, largely due to a collaboration of concerned citizens, which include parents, homeowners, health care providers, teachers and others, the number of New Haven children identified with lead poisoning more than 20 ug/dL has declined 89 percent, from 420 children reported in 1995 to 46 children in 2009. Moreover, through New Haven’s HUD funded program, more than 912 homes have had lead removed from them. However, there are still hundreds of homes in the area that are in need of renovations in a lead safe way.”

    There are no detectable symptoms for lead poisoning. Children often appear healthy, while dangerously high blood lead levels rob them of their learning potential and cause irreversible neurological damage. Lead poisoning can cause developmental delays, behavioral problems, and at very high levels, seizures, coma and even death.

    The Don’t Spread Lead Campaign was designed in 1998 to inform the New England communities about the need to renovate properties that pose lead hazards. There is a high correlation between old housing (pre-1978), low income, inner city residence and elevated blood lead levels in children.

    “Though we have seen an overall decline in lead poisoning cases in New Haven in recent years,” said Kowalski, “many New Haven residents are still unaware of this entirely preventable problem. Although local efforts have resulted in a decrease in numbers, there were greater than 194 children reported with elevated blood lead levels greater than 10ug/dL in New Haven in the past year.”

    Parents and children who visit Painter’s Supply on Friday and Grand Paint on Saturday will be provided refreshments, coloring books with lead-safe tips, tee shirts and other educational materials highlighting lead issues and encouraging lead prevention. Lead inspectors will be on-site to answer individual questions.

    Don’t Spread Lead Campaign Press Release, Page 3

    The Health Department’s Bureau of Environmental Health initiates lead safety awareness and education programs throughout the year, in addition to their regular lead inspection and assessment duties. The Bureau’s lead inspectors speak to area children and parents about the importance of lead safety and make presentations at local health fairs. If you would like additional information on lead poisoning prevention initiatives in New Haven, please contact:

    New Haven Health Department

    Bureau of Environmental Health

    (203) 946-8174

    [END]

    Contact Name: Jessica Mayorga

    Contact Email: jmayorga@newhavenct.net

    Contact Phone: 203-946-7660


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