City launches poisoning prevention awareness effort by public health officials

NEW HAVEN CT – Coinciding with National Lead Poisoning Awareness Week, which begins Oct. 23, New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker, public health officials and other city leaders announced a new public health awareness campaign and engagement efforts focused on protecting people from lead.

Led by the New Haven Health Department, the campaign includes public advertisements, literature distribution, community events, awareness activities in schools and daycares, educational classes, and other resources available to city ​​residents, homeowners and contractors to help them protect themselves and others. lead, including free safety advice, home inspections and funding to eliminate lead hazards.

“We want all of our residents to live in healthy, lead-free homes and have access to the preventative information and resources they need to protect themselves and their families from lead poisoning,” Elicker said. “The City of New Haven provides free home inspections and, if lead is found, works with homeowners and landlords to eliminate these hazards at little or no cost to those who participate in our lead reduction program. I encourages New Haven residents to attend one of the city’s upcoming community events or go to NHVlead.org to learn more about what they can do to protect their children and families from the dangers of lead.

Lead is a toxic substance found in most homes built before 1978, when lead paint was a commonly used building material, among other sources of lead. It is estimated that over 80% of New Haven’s current housing stock was built before 1978. When children are exposed to lead, it can cause permanent and serious health problems.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Lead exposure can seriously harm a child’s health and cause well-documented adverse effects such as: brain and nervous system damage, slowed growth and development , learning and behavior problems, and hearing and speech problems.This can lead to low IQ, shortened attention span, and underperformance in school.

As of 2020, lead reduction has occurred in a total of 138 cities through lead enforcement actions and federal funds provided to the City of New Haven by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. J

HUD’s Lead Reduction Program now provides up to $15,000 per unit through a five-year forgivable loan program to undertake reduction projects with priority going to the seven neighborhoods of opportunity: the Annex, Fair Haven, Dixwell, Dwight, Hill North, Hill South and Newhallville. And to houses built before 1978 in which children up to the age of six and/or pregnant women often reside or visit.

During the press conference, the city also unveiled the New Haven Blood Lead Case Dashboard, a new online public resource and tool that provides real-time information on high blood lead cases and tracks their progress as they go. that they progress towards the resolution of the home inspection until the reduction. , in accordance with local and national regulations and laws. This dashboard shows the number of cases in progress or opened since the current New Haven ordinance took effect in December 2019. In 2020, there were 134 cases. In 2021, there were 120 cases. To date, in 2022, there have been 112 cases.

New Haven has adopted an “aggressive and proactive intervention strategy and a high standard for required interventions” for any child under the age of six who has high blood lead levels, with a standard of 5 micrograms or more per deciliter as compared to the current standard of 20 micrograms or more per deciliter.

Recent state legislation will require all cities and towns to adopt stricter standards by 2025. Other actions the city has taken in recent years include increasing the total number of lead inspectors, digitization of Health Department lead inspection records and cases and creation of the Lead Poisoning Advisory Committee.

“When children are exposed to lead it can cause permanent and serious health problems, but it is also 100% preventable. That’s why the New Haven Health Department is committed to doing everything we can to raise awareness of preventative measures and resources available to residents to help make their homes lead-free,” said Maritza Bond, New Haven Public Health Director. . “In the unfortunate cases where elevated blood lead levels are detected, we will support these individuals and families in any way we can and we will also provide transparency on the progress of these cases through our new dashboard. on line.”

In advance of National Lead Poisoning Awareness Week, New Haven Health Department community health workers engaged with community partners and organizations, distributed educational materials and installed signs on the lawn, among other activities. During National Lead Poisoning Awareness Week, the Department of Health will participate in daily community events to help educate residents (see listing here) and to distribute cleaning buckets and other giveaways in partnership with the New Haven Early Childhood Council. Neighborhood groups and community organizations can also contact the Department of Health to invite the Poison Prevention Team to participate in their events by emailing Rafael Ramos, Director of Environmental Health, at rramos @newhavenct.gov.

Additionally, to help build the capacity of more Certified Lead Reduction Contractors, the New Haven Health Department also offers free, low-cost certification courses and training. You can find more information about these opportunities on NHVlead.org.

More information about National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is also available on the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/national-lead-poisoning-prevention-week. html

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