Lincoln officials launch initiative to combat lead exposure in young children

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Lincoln health and housing officials launched an initiative on Wednesday that will help combat lead exposure in young children.

The Lead Safe Lincoln Initiative will help remove poisonous lead paint from homes of lower-income families.

Officials are focused on removing lead paint from older homes where children under the age of 6 live.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department will offer lead testing services through its onsite public health clinic that begins on July 5.

The program is free and will not cost anything for the property owner.

“The pandemic is not the only health crisis that demands action in our community,” Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said.  “We have long recognized the devastating impact that lead exposure has on children and families.”

Children are more susceptible to lead poisoning, according to Dr. Erica Peterson of Bluestem Health.

“It can permanently damage how the brain and the nervous system works,” Peterson said. “Because young children’s brains are growing and developing so quickly and they frequently put their hands in their mouths, they are at increased risk not only to exposure to lead but its toxic effects.”

Health Director Pat Lopez said more than 100 children test positive for elevated levels of lead in 2021.

The best way to prevent lead poison is regular checkups with a health care provider, officials say.

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