Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention - Ricky Harrison
This is a full transcript of the online presentation. For the
presentation itself, go here.
Welcome to the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Start-Me-Up
This presentation will help you become familiar with the problem of
childhood lead poisoning in Florida. It has three specific objectives.
The first objective is to introduce the causes and irreversible effects
of childhood lead poisoning. The second objective is to provide you with
an overview of at-risk populations in Florida and the lead poisoning
statistics for the state. The third objective is to provide you with an
overview of the Florida Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (the
FL CLPPP) and encourage you to join us in our efforts to eliminate
childhood lead poisoning in Florida.
Let's start with the basics. Lead is a heavy metal. Its atomic number
is 82, and its atomic mass is 207.20. Lead is indeed a poison and there
is no natural level of lead in the blood.
We must remember that lead is all around us. Lead may be found in older
chipping or peeling paint inside or outside of your home. Lead may also
be found in other places as well: jewelry, pottery, mini blinds, and
even candy from other countries-just to name a few.
Lead-based paint is the most common lead hazard in the United States.
Homes built before 1978 may still contain lead-based paint hazards.
Homes built before 1950 are even more likely to contain lead-based paint
hazards. We learn about new sources of lead each year. Examples of
lead-based paint hazards are shown below.
What is childhood lead poisoning? There is no safe level of lead in
blood; however, according to Florida's case definition of childhood lead
poisoning: children age 72 months or younger with confirmed lead levels
greater than or equal to 10 µg per deciliter are considered lead
This is in concert with the Centers for Disease Control and
Preventions level of concern.
There are two main pathways for lead to enter the body. These are
termed: pathways of exposure. Ingestion is a pathway of exposure that
usually occurs when one has hand to mouth contact. Inhalation is another
pathway of exposure that includes breathing lead particles into your
system. Usually, ingestion is the main pathway of exposure for children,
but inhalation is the main pathway of exposure for adults. The diagram
below shows many different sources and pathways of exposure.
Children under the age of six will always be especially at risk to
sources of lead in the environment. Their developing bodies are more
likely to absorb lead and their behaviors, such as frequent hand-mouth
contact, serve as pathways for exposure.
As discussed earlier, there is no safe level of lead in your body.
However, characteristics differ between low-level and severe lead
poisoning. Lowered IQ, hyperactivity, lack of concentration, behavioral
problems, and learning disabilities are some affects of low-level
poisoning. Hearing problems, headaches, anemia, neurological
impairments, seizures, coma, and even death may be affects of severe
This table shows the number of lead poisoned children under the age of
six in Florida from the year 2001 to 2005.
Please note that data from 1997 through 2005 show more then 10,316
children less than 72 months of age identified in Florida with elevated
blood lead levels.
As we discussed before, homes built before 1978 are more likely to have
lead-based paint. Homes built before 1950 are even more likely to
contain lead hazards.
Children living in these older homes are high risk for lead poisoning.
There are approximately 433,564 homes in Florida built before 1950.
If you notice the chart representing Florida to the right of this slide,
you will see the percentage of pre-1950 housing by county.
Older homes are usually grouped in the same neighborhoods and zip
codes. Children who live in these high-risk zip codes are high-risk for
Children living in older neighborhoods live in close proximity to
lead-based paint and soil hazards. It is recommended that these children
receive a blood lead test at ages one and two.
Refugees, immigrants and children adopted from foreign countries are
high-risk for lead poisoning.
Industrial uses of lead are unregulated or under regulated in other
countries. Some cultural practices involve the use of products
containing lead. Almost 20,000 refugees aged 19 and under arrived in
Florida in the past five years. If you notice the picture to the extreme
bottom-left, you will notice pottery that contains lead, which came from
a foreign country. In addition, the fourth picture from the right shows
a picture of candy that contains lead.
We've all heard the saying, don't take your work home with you.
However, sometimes it is inevitable. Children who have caregivers who
have hobbies or jobs involving lead are high-risk for lead poisoning.
Lead dust can be carried home from work or hobbies on clothes, shoes or
equipment. Cottage industries remain prevalent in some parts of the
state of Florida; these activities may also result in contamination of a
Low-income children are high-risk for lead poisoning. Families with
limited resources are more likely to reside in older homes that may have
lead-based paint hazards. Low-income children are also more likely to
have poor nutritional status, making it easier for them to absorb lead.
Medicaid eligibility is used to target blood lead screening in this
population across the United States.
Minority populations are high-risk for lead poisoning. Statistics from
the Miami-Dade CLPPP confirmed that minority populations are
disproportionately affected by lead poisoning.
The program reports that 90% of the 175 individuals with elevated blood
lead levels in 2005 were either Hispanic or non-Hispanic black.
The FL CLPPP manages lead prevention efforts in the state of Florida.
Our mission is to protect the health and cognitive development of all
children living in Florida by minimizing childhood exposure to all lead
What do we do?
We conduct statewide surveillance of blood lead screening; we provide
case management and screening guidance; we fund four high-risk counties:
Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach to lead local elimination
efforts; and we coordinate the committee for the elimination of
childhood lead poisoning.
The Committee for the Elimination of Childhood Lead Poisoning is
leading the way to a lead safe Florida. Our partners include: County
Health Departments, the Advocacy Institute for Children, the Florida
Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, University of Florida's
TREEO Center, Florida Children's Environment health Alliance, the
Department of Community Affairs, the Agency for Health Care
Administration, Local Housing Authorities, and various industry
Our committee created and works from Floridas Strategic Plan for the
Elimination of Childhood Lead Poisoning, the elimination plan, It is a
statewide plan for meeting the healthy people 2010 goal of eliminating
childhood lead poisoning.
The elimination plan has five sections: screening, surveillance, case
management, protective policy, and primary prevention, which includes
community outreach and education and housing.
The committee has five committee working groups to ensure the
activities defined in each section of the plan are completed. These
workgroups are: screening and surveillance, protective policy, community
outreach and education, housing, and case management.
The screening and surveillance workgroup brings together two elements
of our strategic plan; screening and surveillance. The screening and
surveillance workgroup focuses on using surveillance data to monitor the
number of at-risk children screened for lead poisoning. The data is used
to develop target strategies to improve awareness of lead screening
policies by the public and physicians. The group is also researching the
most effective health care delivery systems for providing blood lead
testing services and exploring opportunities to improve policies and
management structures to increase screening rates.
The protective policy workgroup focuses on educating policymakers,
advocacy organizations, community leaders, public and private
stakeholders and others in order to increase the effectiveness of state
and local policies related to protecting children from lead poisoning in
The community outreach and education workgroup takes a broader approach
to ensure families, communities and other members of the general public
are informed about traditional and nontraditional lead risks and
prevention measures. The workgroup aims to establish viable and lasting
partnerships with community organizations and state and local agencies
already serving high-risk populations.
The housing workgroup focuses on engaging new partners in efforts to
ensure resources for creating and maintaining lead safe homes are
available for high-risk families. Educating housing professionals in
lead safety, working with existing agencies to improve enforcement of
state and local lead safety requirements, and collaborating to leverage
funding for lead hazard reduction are also key activities of this
The case management workgroup focuses on supporting County Health
Department case managers, physicians, Children's Medical Services
Program, HMOs and other partners in the coordination of follow up care
for lead poisoned children. This workgroup will work together to develop
guidelines, enhance current referral processes, and to ensure providers
and partners are adequately informed of the proper medical follow-up
What can you do to help prevent childhood lead poisoning?
If you live in a home built before 1978 that has chipping or peeling
paint, please take your child to get a blood lead test. You can also
partner with the Florida childhood lead poisoned program by joining one
of the five committee workgroups. You may also use the FL CLPPPs
educational materials and surveillance reports to heighten awareness and
push lead poisoning prevention efforts in your area. In addition, you
may contact your local policy makers and state legislators to convey the
importance of lead poisoning prevention in Florida.
Let the FL CLPPP help you protect Floridas children!
The FL CLPPP can provide local data for building partnerships and for
informing community stakeholders about lead hazards in your area. We can
also provide technical assistance for local lead elimination efforts. We
may also provide educational materials in Spanish, English and Creole.
Thank you for viewing this presentation. I hope it has inspired you to
help us address this completely preventable condition. If you have any
questions, ideas or if you would like to join our efforts, please note
the contact information on the following slide.
Julie Kurlfink is the Florida CLPPP Coordinator. She may be reached by
email at Julie_Kurlfink@mail.DOH.state.fl.us.
Ricky Harrison is the Environmental Policy Analyst for the Florida
CLPPPP. He may be reached by email at Ricky_Harrison@mail.DOH.state.fl.us
or by telephone at 850-245-4247.
In Miami-Dade County, you may contact Alicia Camps Sotirescu MD, MSGPM.
She is the Miami-Dade CLPPP Coordinador. Her email address is
Alicia_Sotirescu@doh.state.fl.us, or you may contact her by phone at
In Duval County, you may contact Tiffany Turner, Ph.D. She is the Duval
CLPPP Coordinator. Her email address is Tiffany_Turner@doh.state.fl.us,
or you may contact her by phone at (904) 630-3289.
In Hillsborough County, you may contact Cynthia OKeeton. She is the
Hillsborough CLPPP Coordinator. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org,
or you may contact her by phone at (813) 307-8015 x7108.
In Palm Beach County, you may contact Selva Selvendran. He is the
Environmental Manager. His email address is Selva_Selvendran@doh.state.fl.us,
or you may contact him by phone at (561) 355-3070.