Parents in Connecticut are dealing with the new news that nearly 1,500 children younger than age six in 2014 have now tested positive for lead poisoning. While roughly equal to new 2013 numbers, those numbers may be misleading because of the deficiencies of lead screening in Connecticut. This means, that more children could be impacted. The Department of Public Health’s Krista M. Veneziano, a program coordinator on lead, Radon, and Healthy Homes Program, says that just 53% of children age 3 and under received the two state required screenings for lead poisoning.
The Connecticut Health investigative Team reported in May that nearly 60,000 children in 2013 were exposed to lead. However, they noted that the number may be much higher because of gaps in state-mandated testing. The cause? Lead-based paints. In nearly one-quarter of homes built in Connecticut after World War II, homes were painted with lead-based paints popular at the time. Lead-based paints were banned in 1978, after studies found that exposure to them lead to cognitive behavioral problems in young children.
As the New Haven Register reports,
Lead dust particles and chips of lead paint are the biggest sources of lead poisoning for children in New Haven, Paul Kowalski, environmental health program director for the city Health Department, has said. The city has 47,731 housing units that were built before 1978, according to the city Health Department...According to the DPH 2014 figures, of the 1,473 children who had newly confirmed toxic lead levels in 2014, more than one-third — 566 — lived in one of the state’s three largest, and poorest, cities: Bridgeport, New Haven or Hartford. New Haven has the highest number of reported cases of lead-poisoned children in Connecticut, according to a letter Mayor Toni Harp wrote to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requesting federal funding to help pay for lead abatement in the city.
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