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Newport News Now

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Newport News Now is a daily e-newsletter that launched in March 2016. Articles that ran in our newsletter between March 2016 and March 2018 are available on these pages. Newsletters produced beginning in April 2018 can be viewed on our new daily newsletter page.

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Oct 27

Virginia Department of Health Highlights Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

Posted on October 27, 2016 at 8:28 AM by Communications Department

This week is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, and the Virginia Department of Health wants you to learn about lead poisoning and how to avoid it. Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future is this year’s theme and it underscores the importance of testing your home and your child, and learning how to prevent lead poisoning’s serious health effects. LeadFreeKida_sc

“Lead poisoning is one of the most preventable environmental diseases among young children,” said State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, MD. It can affect any child, but children under age 6 are at the greatest risk. In Virginia in 2015, 211 children under the age of 6 were confirmed to have elevated blood lead levels.

In children, too much lead in the body can cause lasting problems with brain development affecting behavior, hearing, learning and speech. It can also slow the child's growth. In adults, lead poisoning can damage the brain and nervous system, stomach and kidneys. It can also cause high blood pressure and other health problems. Major sources of lead exposure include lead-based paint, lead-contaminated dust in older buildings (pre 1978), contaminated soil, take-home exposures from a parent’s workplace, and contaminated drinking water, primarily from well water or old pipes.

Parents can reduce a child’s exposure to lead in many ways. Public water supplies are routinely tested for lead, but private water supplies (wells) are the owner’s responsibility. Newport News Waterworks meets or exceeds all water quality requirements, yet water pipes in some older homes may contain lead solder where lead may leach out into the water and affect the quality of water flowing through your tap. Additionally, homeowners that rely on well water should have their water tested. Before you buy an older home, ask for a lead inspection. And even if your young children seem healthy, you can ask your doctor to test for lead. The Virginia Department of Health’s Peninsula Health District can provide helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning. Contact the Environmental Health Division for more information about lead or other environmental hazards.

Lead-Safe Virginia provides information about working safely with lead paint and how to have your home tested for lead. The Virginia Household Water Quality Program and the Virginia Department of Health offer information on private well management, well water and well water testing. For concerns about someone who may have been exposed to lead, contact your doctor, your local health department, or the Virginia Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 or visit