Our mission is to reduce the prevalence of childhood lead poisoning in the City of Houston, to educate health care professionals and the general public about the dangers of childhood lead poisoning, and to identify and care for children who have been exposed to lead.
Who's at greater risk?
Children are high risk because they:
- eat and drink more based on their body size when compared to adults.
- breathe at faster rates when compared to adults.
- absorb 4-5 times more of the lead they swallow than adults.
- may be missing key nutrients in their body, such as calcium and iron – so their body mistakenly keeps lead in place of healthy nutrients.
- often put their hands in their mouths.
- chew on toys and other household items that may contain lead.
Other high-risk populations are:
- immigrants, refugees, or those recently adopted from less developed countries.
- people who live or spend time with someone who works with lead or has hobbies that expose them to lead.
People with Pica
Pica is the uncommon desire to eat nonfood substances that people do not normally eat (dirt, paint chips, and clay). Pica is most common in 1- and 2-year-old children and usually goes away as they get older. Pica has also been observed in adults, especially during pregnancy. Pica is sometimes a result of a nutritional shortage, such as iron-deficiency anemia.
Fetuses and nursing babies are also at risk because lead can pass through the placenta to the fetus when the mother is exposed. Lead can also pass-through breast milk to a nursing baby when the mother is exposed.
Our program’s activities are directed toward:
- providing education to the general public and health care professionals in relation to screening guidelines and hazards of childhood lead poisoning.
- assuring that children exposed to lead are screened and provided with follow-up care.
- offering care coordination to children with blood lead levels.
- developing and enhancing a surveillance system that monitors blood lead levels.
- expanding primary prevention in high-risk areas.
- educating residents and contractors about lead poisoning and how lead hazards can be remediated from residential neighborhoods.