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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Date: October 21, 2011


National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is Oct. 23-29

Delaware has reduced the incidence rate of lead poisoning in children age 6 and under from 17 percent in 1994 to 0.6 percent in 2009, a 96 percent reduction. Increased awareness of the dangers of lead poisoning, interventions and the removal of lead-based paint have all contributed to this decrease. Delaware has made much progress, but some children continue to be exposed to, and effected by, lead.

During National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, October 23-29, the Delaware Division of Public Health's (DPH) Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention (HHLPP) programs encourage parents to learn more about how to prevent lead poisoning. All children are required to be tested for lead poisoning in their first year. Effective Dec. 11, 2010, all children are required to be tested again between 22 and 26 months if they are at high risk for lead poisoning.

"DPH's goal is to prevent lead exposure to children before they are harmed and we are increasing education and intervention efforts," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. "Testing your child during their early development is still the most important step, but parents can visit the DPH website to learn what other actions they need to take."

Lead poisoning can cause permanent, irreversible damage to a child, including brain damage, hearing problems, kidney damage, and even stunted growth.

To maintain Delaware's outstanding level of lead poisoning prevention, HHLPP, reminds residents to take these steps to protect children:

Get your home tested. If your home was built before 1978, it may contain lead-based paint. For tips on how to protect your family, visit Get your child tested. Even low exposure to lead can result in permanent learning, hearing and behavioral problems, stunted growth and brain damage. Ask your doctor to test your child for lead.

Get the facts. The Office of Lead Poisoning and Prevention can provide you with helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning. Call 1-800-464-HELP (4357) or visit

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.