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Conn. Health Department Urges Lead Exposure Awareness

Carlos Osorio
A registered nurse draws a blood sample from a student.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health held a forum Tuesday to talk about the importance of lead safety awareness for young children and adults.

“It’s as simple as getting a blood test. So the only way you can tell if somebody has even been lead-poisoned, a child or an adult, is that they get a lead test,” said Kimberly Ploszaj, an epidemiologist with the state Department of Public Health.

Ploszaj said children exposed to lead poisoning before the age of 3 can suffer damage to the brain and nervous system, and have learning and behavioral problems.

“You know when we talk to the parents – the kids are 2 or 3 years old – they’re acting perfectly fine, they seem to be learning the way they’re supposed to, they’re advancing appropriately like learning their ABCs and saying words and stuff. But then when we see them exposed at that age, we’ll start seeing issues when they’re in school. So they start having issues in school with that learning and cognitive piece when it comes to problem solving.”

Officials said a 2009 state law mandates that children be tested twice for lead poisoning before the age of 3.