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Epi News

Lead exposure concern: Status update

Brianne Probasco

Recent detections of lead in drinking water systems in Flint, Michigan and Tacoma, Washington have raised public awareness of the importance of safe drinking water and prevention of lead exposure. As of May 5, 2016, no current cases of lead poisoning (≥ 45µg/dL) or detections of lead in public drinking water have been reported in Grays Harbor.

At this time standard lead screening and assessment is requested. We will continue to monitor recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health and will share guidance for providers if any change in action is requested or exposure concerns arise.

Grays Harbor Environmental Health Department is responding to inquiries about public water safety, and questions can be directed to Environmental Health at 249-4222.

Standard action is requested – no new action at this time

  • Assess all children for risk of lead poisoning at 12 and 24 months of age.

  • WA Department of Health recommends performing a blood lead test on children with the following risk factors:

    • Lives in or regularly visits any house built before 1950.

    • Lives in or regularly visits any house built before 1978 with recent or ongoing renovations or remodeling.

    • From a low income family (income <130% poverty level, and Federal law mandates screening for all children covered by Medicaid).

    • Known to have siblings or frequent playmate with an elevated blood lead level.

    • Is a recent immigrant, refugee, foreign adoptee, or child in foster care.

    • Has a parent or principal caregiver who works professionally or recreationally with lead (examples: remodeling, painting, mining, makes lead fishing weights, works in or visits gun ranges, hobbies involving stained glass, pottery, soldering or welding, etc.).

    • Uses traditional, folk, or ethnic remedies or cosmetics (examples: Greta, Azarcon, Ghasard, Ba-baw-san, Sindoor, and Kohl).

  • Healthcare providers should consider testing additional children per clinical judgment, including, but not limited to:

    • Children whose parents have concerns or request testing.

    • Children living within a kilometer of an airport or lead emitting industry, or on former orchard land.

    • Children with pica behavior.

    • Children with neurodevelopmental disabilities or conditions such as autism, ADHD, and learning delays.

  • An elevated blood lead level ≥ 5µg/dL is a notifiable condition.

     Background information

  • In Washington, the most common source of lead poisoning is lead-based paint. Paint containing lead was not banned until 1978.

  • Other common sources of lead exposure are: contaminated soil, children’s toys and jewelry, drinking water, workplace and hobby hazards, home remedies and cosmetics, lead glazed ceramic ware, imported candy and mini blinds.

    Resources


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