Blood Lead Levels Improve But More Work Remains
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Children who suffer from blood lead poisoning can experience behavior problems, learning disabilities, speech impediments, and reduced intelligence, even at low levels of exposure. ¬†
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† In 2012, the Douglas County Health Department reported119 children had tested positive for elevated blood lead levels, compared to 451 children in 1998. While Douglas County Health care providers have been testing more children than ever before, the potential for exposure to lead hazards continues in too many homes, putting more children and their futures at risk.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄúWe have made great progress, but lead-safe housing continues to be a concern, especially in the older areas of our community,‚ÄĚ said Douglas County Health Director, Dr. Adi Pour.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Whenever a child is identified with an elevated blood lead level, the Douglas County Health Department conducts a home inspection to identify lead paint hazards and other exposures in the homes of children with blood lead levels of 10mcg/dL or higher. When lead paint hazards are identified, the Health Department orders the building owner to safely repair the problem.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄúWhile lead remediation comes with a cost, that expense is minor compared to the damage done to the lives of our community‚Äôs children,‚ÄĚ Dr. Pour said. ‚ÄúI encourage everyone, landlords and homeowners, who have a lead-based paint problem to fix it in a timely manner.‚ÄĚ
There are currently more than 90 properties in Douglas County with identified lead hazards. These homes need to be remediated to prevent any more children from being exposed to lead poisoning. The Douglas County Health Department plans to begin enforcing the city nuisance ordinance that includes lead more aggressively as it takes too many departmental resources to have properties cleared.
are resources available, such as the City of Omaha Lead-hazard control grant,
to help families that own their home and meet certain criteria. For details on
the City of Omaha‚Äôs Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Program, call
(402) 444-5150, ext. 2001.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄúOur efforts to improve the health of children in Douglas County have been a remarkable success,‚ÄĚ said Dr. Pour.‚ÄĚ We must maintain these collaborative efforts to ensure all children are lead-free. I look forward to the day when lead poisoning, like polio, is a distant memory and no longer a threat to our children.‚ÄĚ