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This week the DPH Massachusetts Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) is joining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in recognizing National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.   Substantial gains have been made in preventing exposure to lead through 45 years of public health interventions.  Despite this, lead remains a significant health risk for children in Massachusetts.

LPPW 2016 ImageIt may come as little surprise that Massachusetts has the fourth oldest housing stock in the country, with 7 out of 10 homes built before 1978 – the year lead was banned in residential paint.  And surveillance data collected by CLPPP show that lead exposure disproportionately impacts gateway and lower income communities with higher minority populations, making lead exposure a critical health equity issue.

Young children are most often exposed to lead through ingestion of dust or soil contaminated by loose or deteriorated lead paint, often on windows and exteriors, or disturbed by unsafe renovation work. Exposure can also occur from lead in water, toys, and other items, such as jewelry.  Visit www.mass.gov/dph/clppp for more information about lead exposure.

In the meantime, the fight against childhood lead poisoning continues. Recently DPH has proposed amendments to the state’s lead poisoning regulations to ensure that they align as closely as possible with current scientific and medical knowledge concerning childhood lead poisoning. You can learn more about these proposed changes to lead poisoning regulations here.

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in the Bureau of Environmental Health

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