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County offers lead screenings for youths

In an effort to address the low rates of childhood lead screenings, the Burlington County Health Department and Virtua Community Nursing Services will be conduct lead screening for youths in January.

During each week during this month, children between the ages of 13 months to less than 72 months are welcomed for lead screenings at the Burlington County Health Department.

“We are encouraging parents to bring their children to come out and get tested, and learn more about what you can do to protect your family against lead,” said Burlington County Health Department Director and Health Officer Holly Funkhouser Cucuzzella.

According to county health department officials, lead exposure in a youngster’s body can cause learning and behavior problems. Officials said it can also affect growth and development; damage hearing and speech and make it difficult to pay attention and learn.

As harmful as lead exposure is to a minor, Cucuzella also noted that screenings at an early age can be beneficial to prevent or catch potential health-related risks.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children,” she said. “That is why are working with our partner Virtua to offer additional dates and times for lead screenings in an effort to screen more children.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that there are approximately 500,000 youths with high levels of lead in their bodies. The primary exposure to lead in youths in the United States is through lead-based paint, but lead is also in multiple products such as makeup, toys, jewelry, zippers, and imported ceramics, which can include plates, bowls, and mugs.

The child lead screenings will take place at the Burlington County Health Department at 15 Pioneer Blvd. in Westampton.

The dates and times for the walk-in January 2019 screenings are as follows:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 8, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Monday, Jan. 14, from 9:00 a.m. to noon.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 22, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Monday, Jan. 28, from 9:00 a.m. to noon.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 29, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

For questions about lead in the home, call the national hotline 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).

Other resources include the Southern Regional Lead and Healthy Homes Coalition at 856-665-6000, the Burlington County Health Department Lead Program at 609-265-5515, and the state of New Jersey Lead Safe program https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/leadsafe.html.

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