August 27, 1999................................... Issue 3

The NPC News Bulletin is a project of the National Parent Network on Disabilities. Each issue features a different theme and highlights Consortium activities and related maternal and child health, as well as other health-related information for families. This issue focuses on Lead Poisoning.

We invite you to visit the National Parent Consortium website to learn more about who we are and what we do.


A highly toxic metal that has been commonly used in many household and industrial products.

National Video Teleconference On Lead Poisoning

Bright Futures for Families, Keeping Our Kids Healthy & Safe: Lead Poisoning - Still an Environmental Problem for Children and Families is a national video teleconference that will air Friday, November 19, 1999 at 1:00 P.M., EST. This 2 hour satellite broadcast is intended for parents, grandparents, childcare workers, and professionals and features national experts, federal officials, and parents who will share their knowledge on how you can protect your child. Learn what you can do "now" to give children a bright future and prevent lead poisoning.

Lead poisoning is still the number one environmental hazard to children. This critical issue of lead poisoning cuts across all economic boundaries and ethnic cultures. Some cities are reporting almost one of every four children under the age of six are the victims of lead. Learn what you need to know about lead poisoning and the possible serious, or even life-threatening effects it can have on children.

The teleconference is interactive and will take questions from viewers across the country. The program will be broadcast to a site in your area, and will provide a local authority on lead to respond to questions and share local resources. The Bright Futures for Families video teleconference is hosted by NPC and is sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The teleconference is available free, and will be simultaneously translated into Spanish and closed captioned. For updated details, access the NPC website.

For information on how you can locate and/or host a satellite downlink site, call 202-546-4464 or Stay tuned for updates on how to join the broadcast.

Facts About Lead

Too much lead in the human body can damage the brain, kidneys, nervous system and red blood cells.

How might a person be exposed to lead? Lead can be found in many places - in old paint, in the air, water, food, dust and soil.

How does lead get into the body? Lead enters the body when paint chips, dust, soil, food or water that contains lead is swallowed or inhaled. This is much more serious for children than for adults because children absorb more lead than adults.

How does lead affect children? Young children and infants are more sensitive to lead because their bodies are developing. Elevated levels of lead in their blood can put children at increased risk for problems such as learning disabilities, behavioral problems and impaired coordination.

What are the symptoms of lead poisoning? There are no obvious symptoms and nothing will be noticed in a routine physical checkup.

What should I do to find out if my child has been exposed to lead? A blood test is the only way to tell if a child has been exposed to a harmful amount of lead. Call your doctor to arrange a blood test for your child.

Steps you can take to reduce your child's risk of lead poisoning**

  1. Wash your child's hands, face, pacifier, and toys often to protect him or her from eating lead dust.
  2. Once a week, wipe down window wells, sills, tracks, and other places where lead might collect, using a wet rag and high phosphate soap. Throw away the rag after use.
  3. Watch your child's play habits. Do not allow him or her to play around old peeling buildings or in the dirt around these buildings.
  4. Eating a variety of healthy foods can also help protect a child against lead poisoning. A well balanced diet, rich in calcium and iron and low in fat, helps the body to absorb less lead.

(From the VT Department of Health Fact Sheet on Lead. The VT Commissioner of Health presented this information at the NPC Congressional Forum held on Capitol Hill in May '99.)

Moving Toward a Lead-Safe America

In 1992, Congress passed legislation that protects America's children from being lead poisoned, and provides government support for the creation of a qualified lead-based paint industry to eliminate childhood lead poisoning as a major environmental disease. The Office of Lead Hazard Control advises the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the program and field offices on lead poisoning prevention issues. The office is committed to the goal of providing lead-safe housing to America's children while preserving affordable housing.

If you have questions about lead poisoning prevention, please contact: National Lead Information Center: 1-800-424-LEAD or HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control: (202) 755-1785 °

Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning

It is a national, non-profit public interest organization dedicated exclusively to preventing childhood lead poisoning. Its mission is to frame the national agenda, formulate innovative approaches, and bring critical resources to bear to prevent childhood lead poisoning.

Check them out: 202-543-1147 ° °