San Bernardino County Department of Public Health kicked off a week of Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention on Monday.
The message they want families and community members to hear is that even small amounts of lead can harm a child’s health. Lead poisoning can have serious effects on the brain and nervous system says County Supervising Public Health Nurse Sara Hernandez-Singh.
“One of our main concerns is learning problems that it may cause and sometimes we don’t realize why these children have these problems [until] they start pre-school and kindergarten," said Hernandez-Singh. "We don’t see it until they hit that age so we want to catch it before.”
Blood tests are the only way to diagnose lead poisoning. Hernandez-Sing said less than 1 percent or about 250 children in 2018 were diagnosed with lead poisoning in San Bernardino County.
“These are 250 children who may potentially end up in special education," said Hernandez-Singh. "So that brings other issues [and] additional costs to society, not just to the health of the child but also you know to our community and our society.”
Children can be exposed through a number of sources including lead dust brought home on parent’s work clothes, and some types of pottery and painted objects.
The campaign will feature street banners in Colton, Fontana and Ontario and social media posts. Also, information and materials will be mailed to local agencies and businesses.