Lead poisoning is extremely dangerous for both children and adults, affecting nearly every system in the body and often occurring with no obvious symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program goal of eliminating elevated blood lead levels in children by 2010. Primary responsibilities of the program include the following:
- Develop programs and policies to prevent childhood lead poisoning.
- Educate the public and health-care providers about childhood lead poisoning.
- Provide funding to state and local health departments to determine the extent of childhood lead poisoning by screening children for elevated blood lead levels, helping to ensure that lead-poisoned infants and children receive medical and environmental follow-up, and developing neighborhood-based efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning.
- Support research to determine the effectiveness of prevention efforts at federal, state, and local levels.
CDC, HUD, EPA, and other agencies have developed a federal interagency strategy to achieve this goal by 2010. The key elements of this interagency strategy include:
- Identification and control of lead paint hazards;
- Identification and care for children with elevated blood lead levels;
- Surveillance of elevated blood lead levels in children to monitor progress; and
- Research to further improve childhood lead poisoning prevention methods.
Mayo Clinic’s website includes a comprehensive section about lead poisoning, including symptoms, causes, risk factors, complications, tests, treatment and prevention.