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City Communications Office

City of Kansas City, Mo.

www.kcmo.org

CONTACT: City Communications Office, 816-513-1349

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 26, 2010

City announces Lead Poisoning Prevention Week activities

The City of Kansas City, Mo., announced a series of activities in recognition of Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Oct. 24-30. The activities will take place at the City’s Health Department, 2400 Troost Ave.

“Lead poisoning remains the number one environmental threat to children’s health nationally,” said Amy Roberts, RN and manager of the Health Department’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. “Though we have seen a significant decrease in reported cases locally, some of our zip codes still have twice the national average for lead-poisoned children.”

In 2009, more than 1,500 children in Kansas City suffered from lead exposure, and 149 children experienced lead poisoning. This statistic is down from 393 lead-poisoned children in 1999 but still represents a significant problem. Lead poisoning can cause brain damage, learning disabilities, kidney and cardiovascular problems, coma and death.

The following activities will take place at the Health Department:

    • Educational displays in the atrium, including a mitten exhibit showing a pair of mittens or gloves for each child diagnosed with lead poisoning in Kansas City, Mo., last year

    • Free product testing by appointment throughout the week

    • Pre-scheduled Head Start blood lead screenings throughout the week

    • Cake celebration on Tuesday at 1-2 p.m.

    • Leady the Dinosaur in the atrium on Thursday and Friday, 10-11 a.m.

    • Walk-in blood lead testing for children and pregnant women on Friday, 9 a.m. to noon

    • Free cleaning kit distribution for families with young children on Friday, 12-5 p.m.

The Health Department has provided free testing, nurse case management, home inspections and education for lead-poisoned children and their families for more than 15 years. Through a Department of Housing and Urban Development grant, the Department has also provided home lead remediation since 1997.

“There are other lead-poisoned children who have not been diagnosed simply because they have not been tested,” said Roberts. “If your child lives or spends time in an older home, they should be tested every year.”

For more information about the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, visit the Health Department website, www.kcmo.org/health. To schedule an appointment for the product testing, call 816-513-6047.

Media inquiries about this topic should be directed to Jeff Hershberger, public information officer for the Health Department, 816-840-2548 (pager). Follow the Health Department on Facebook and Twitter, www.facebook.com/kcmohealthdept and www.twitter.com/kcmohealthdept.

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