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Lead Free is the Way to Be
The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment Lead Program is dedicated to educating residents on how to prevent and reduce lead exposures in and around their homes. Public Health is concerned about any source of lead that is causing a risk or is a health hazard to the occupants of the home. Public Health believes that there is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe. Lead effects everyone, however, the most vulnerable populations are children, women of child-bearing age, pregnant or nursing women. The effects of lead may not be easily seen or recognized and may be long-lasting.
In general, people can be exposed to lead by:
Accidental ingestion of contaminated dust or soil (hand-to-mouth activities in young children),
Intentional ingestion of non-food items (pica behavior)
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are at least 4 million households with children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead. There are approximately half a million U.S. children ages 1-5 with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), the reference level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated. In response to this, the lead program will provide the following services to residents of Pueblo County:
Lead risk and hazard reduction education to resident owners, property managers, and tenants;
Lead risk and hazard reduction education for occupational and hobby exposures;
Environmental testing program for Lead hazard screening (cost: $42.00/hour or no cost to those located within the Superfund Study Area);
Blood Lead screening for children up to age 16, women of child-bearing age, pregnant or nursing women (cost: to be determined); and
Blood Lead monitoring program for children with blood levels at or above 5.0 µg/dL.
For more information or to request blood lead or indoor paint testing please contact the Environmental Health Division (719) 583-4307.
Common Sources of Lead Exposure
· Paint: Lead-based paint can be found in homes built before 1978 or on old painted toys and furniture.
· Dust: Lead dust comes from lead-based painted surfaces that are in poor condition, high impact surfaces or from surfaces that have been disturbed by scraping, sanding, chipping, flaking or from contaminated soil that is tracked or blown into the home.
· Water: Older homes may have plumbing with lead or lead solder, faucets that contain lead or a well where contamination has affected the groundwater. To request water testing in the City of Pueblo click here.
· Tableware that is imported, old or handmade may contain lead; porcelain and pottery may contain lead-based glaze; or leaded crystal, pewter or brass.
· New Toys: Lead may be found in/on the paint and plastic of imported toys, toy jewelry or unclean toys.
· Candy & Foods that are imported may contain lead in the ingredients, wrappers or soldering of the cans, especially those from Mexico and China.
· Soil & Air: Residues from industrial operation, use of leaded gasoline or lead-based paint.
· Workplaces with the potential for lead exposure include building demolition, painting, renovation/ remodeling, construction, battery recycling, radiator repair, and bridge repair.
Health effects: in children - difficulties learning and lowered IQ, problems with attention, behavior, and speech, slowed growth and development or hearing loss;
Health effects in adults – high blood pressure, lack of concentration or memory loss, irritability, depression, fatigue, nausea and poor appetite, decreased sex drive and spontaneous miscarriage.
Methods to Reduce Exposure
There are simple actions you can do to reduce exposure to lead sources and improve health (wash hands before you eat; use wet cleaning.
View this video to learn how to reduce exposure to lead at home Dirt Alert Pueblo.