The Environmental Health Division works in cooperation with the Public Health Department’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Once a child is determined to be a lead poisoning case, both a Public Health Nurse (PHN) from the Public Health Department and a Registered Environmental Health Specialist, Certified Lead Inspector/Assessor (I/A) from the Environmental Health Division, visit the child’s home. The PHN counsels the family on the medical, developmental, and nutritional aspects of lead poisoning while the Inspector/Assessor inspects the home for lead paint hazards. They work together to determine the probable cause of lead poisoning. The PHN continues to track the child’s blood lead levels while the I/A works with the homeowner or landlord to remediate lead hazards.
Environmental Lead Hazards
- Housing built prior to 1978 is presumed to have lead-based paint. Chipped or peeling paint often from doors and windows may be ingested by children.
- Lead in soil. Lead may be in soil where children play. It may have been deposited near roadways when leaded gas was used or where leaded paint has chipped from a house
- Lead contaminated dust from paint or soil may cling to household surfaces and be transferred to children’s hands or other objects that they may put in their mouths.
- Take home exposure – adults may bring home lead on clothing as a result of work with radiator repair, demolition, soldering, scrap metal recycling, or hobbies such as stained glass, or fishing with lead weights.
Beginning April 2010, federal law will require contractors that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978, to be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
Contractors must use lead-safe work practices and follow these three simple procedures:
- Contain the work area.
- Minimize dust.
- Clean up thoroughly.
To speak to someone regarding symptoms or effects of lead poisoning, contact Madera County Public Health Department at (559) 675-7893. For questions regarding lead hazards in housing contact Madera County Environmental Health Division at (559) 675-7823.