written by Chandel Gibbs, NHS Community Building & Organizing Specialist
On Wednesday, April 26th the Connecticut Department of Public Health hosted a Childhood Lead Poisoning Focus Group at Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven. The target demographic for this focus group was African-American renters, moms, and caregivers of children under 6 years old.
According to the Center for Disease and Control and Prevention, there is an estimated 434,000 children from ages 1 to 5 years old with lead poisoning, currently defined as a blood lead level greater than 10 ug/dl (micrograms per deciliter). Lead is most harmful to children under age six because it is easily absorbed into their growing bodies, and interferes with the developing brain and other organs and systems. According to recent studies, African-American children are five times more likely to have lead poisoning than white children. About 22% of African-American children living in pre-1964 housing have lead poisoning.
The number of lead poisoned children in Connecticut has gone down over the years, and the Department of Public Health has been focusing their efforts on preventing children from being exposed to lead.
The purpose of the focus group was to receive input and feedback from participants on conducting effective campaigns around the issue of childhood lead poisoning, and to educate their target demographic about preventing early childhood lead poisoning. The Department of Public Health has held a number of focus groups over the years to ensure that the general public is aware of preventative measures to prevent lead poisoning, with a focus on cleaning methods to eliminate lead dust in the home.
For more information on ways to prevent lead poisoning, please visit: www.ct.gov/dph/lead