- Category: Health
- Created on Sunday, 28 October 2012 19:33
San Diego, California - The little children’s smiles sometimes turned to hysterical crying, but it was all for a good cause.
The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) and community partners provided free lead testing for children at the Neighborhood House Association in San Diego Thursday afternoon. The event was part of the County’s on-going efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning.
Families were also able to receive information on eliminating exposure to lead in their homes, how to observe lead-safe workplace practices and nutritional information that can help protect against lead poisoning. Children were able to do arts and crafts, enjoy snacks and participate in fun activities while they were waiting to be tested.
“If we’re not out in the community bringing the educational information and ability to get tested to people, they probably won’t get it,” said Pendeza Lawrence, an HHSA community health promotion specialist in the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP).
“We have to reach the people that live in the homes with older paint,” she said. “The most important thing is letting them know that a blood test is the only way to know if a child has been lead poisoned.”
Lead poisoning can cause many health problems in children including learning disabilities and behavioral problems. It’s hard to detect because most of the time children who are lead poisoned have no obvious symptoms. Some of the effects of lead poisoning – damage to the brain, kidneys and nervous system – don’t show up until after the poisoning has already occurred.
Angelica Morales brought her 3-year-old son Eric all the way from Pacific Beach to the event held in the Mountain View neighborhood.
“We live in an older apartment building with older paint,” she said. “I’m getting him tested just to make sure he’s safe.”
Lead paint is still the number one source of lead exposure in San Diego County, according to the CLPPP, followed by cultural home remedies and traditional pottery.
“As part of the County’s Live Well, San Diego! initiative, preventing childhood lead poisoning is essential to making sure children grow up and thrive,” said Lawrence.