National Healthy Homes Month
Health District, UNLV raise awareness to reduce childhood lead exposures
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 20, 2018
LAS VEGAS — While leaded gasoline or paint with lead are no longer available in the United States, children are still exposed to sources of lead in their homes. As part of the U.S. Department of Urban Development’s (HUD) annual National Healthy Homes Month, the Southern Nevada Health District has collaborated with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and other community partners to raise awareness and reduce lead poisoning in children.
Lead exposure in children in Southern Nevada occurs more often through unique (non-paint) exposures such as imported spices, candies, candy wrappers, herbal remedies, and toys as well as jewelry, ceramicware, and glazed pottery.
Health District staff members are educating parents, caregivers, and health care providers about these potential sources of lead exposure and encourage testing for all children. Children should be tested for elevated lead levels at 12 months and 24 months. Children between 3 and 6 years of age should be screened if they have never been tested. Testing can be ordered by a child’s primary care provider. Most insurance companies cover the cost of lead screenings for children. The Health District offers lead screening at its 280 S. Decatur Blvd. facility each Wednesday between 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. More information is available on the Health District website.
Lead poisoning is 100 percent preventable. Because the damage done by exposure to lead cannot be corrected, the Health District and its partners developed educational materials and resource guides for parents that are available in English and Spanish. The resources are available on the Health District website and include a comprehensive informational brochure, a fact sheet that outlines five steps parents can take to lower their child’s lead levels after an exposure, and a list of testing and intervention resources.
In addition to lead exposures, this year’s National Healthy Homes Month theme is “Check Your Home – Protect Your Family” to build awareness of the importance of completing a home assessment of potential health hazards, in addition to potential lead exposures. The goals of National Healthy Home Month are to empower and encourage people to make changes to create the healthiest homes possible for their families, to raise awareness of what makes a home healthy, and to strengthen coordination between housing and health at the federal, state, and local levels. The initiative was created by HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH).
More information about Making Homes Healthier for Families is available on the HUD website. Resources include a maintenance checklist for families to assess their homes to ensure they are meeting the eight principles of a healthy home:
- Keep it dry: Prevent water from entering your home through leaks in roofing systems, rain water from entering the home due to poor drainage, and check your interior plumbing for any leaking.
- Keep it safe: Store poisonous materials out of the reach of children and make sure they are properly labeled. Secure loose rugs and keep children’s play areas free from hard or sharp surfaces. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and keep fire extinguishers on hand.
- Keep it well ventilated: Ventilate bathrooms and kitchens and use whole house ventilation for supplying fresh air to reduce the concentration of contaminants in the home.
- Keep it pest free: Pests look for food and shelter. Seal cracks and openings throughout the home and store food in containers. If needed, use sticky-traps and bait in closed containers, along with the least toxic pesticides, such as boric acid powder.
- Keep it contaminant free: Reduce lead hazards in pre-1978 homes by fixing deteriorated paint and keeping floors and window areas clean using a wet-cleaning approach.
- Keep it well maintained: Inspect, clean, and repair your home routinely. Take care of minor repairs and problems before they become large repairs and problems.
- Keep it thermally controlled: Maintain adequate temperatures to ensure the safety of residents from increased risk of exposure from extreme heat or cold.
Exposure to home-related health risks can result in increases in asthma, lead poisoning, and other serious conditions in children. Parents are encouraged to speak with their health care providers about the role a healthy home can have on the growth and development of their children. Health care and public health professionals are key resources for parents in their efforts to make their homes safe and healthy environments for their children. Additional resources about testing recommendations, environmental sources of lead, and educational materials are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/default.htm. More information, including hours of operation for the Health District’s Blood Lead Screening Clinic, is available at www.southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/clppp/index.php.
The Southern Nevada Health District serves as the local public health authority for Clark County, Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas, Mesquite and North Las Vegas. The agency safeguards the public health of the community’s residents and visitors through innovative programs, regulations, and initiatives focused on protecting and promoting their health and well-being. More information about the Health District, its programs, services, and the regulatory oversight it provides is available at www.SNHD.info.