Partnering with communities to tackle the lead problem in Washington State

King County Medical Society – Docs Talk Podcast
Get the lead out; Lead poisoning awareness

Continuing Promise 2011There’s a lead problem in Washington State. We know that there is no safe or acceptable blood lead level in children. Children exposed to lead at a young age may experience changes in their cognitive and neurological abilities that manifest years later as lower-than-average school grades, increased irritability or emotional disturbances, ADHD, autism, or other developmental disabilities. Yet only about 4-5% of children are tested for lead poisoning in Washington, leaving thousands of children untested every year.

Many believe that most homes in Washington are not old enough to have lead paint, one of the most commonly thought of products containing lead. However, 56% of the housing stock in King County has lead risks because it was built before 1980. Sources of lead exposure go beyond lead paint – old toys, old furniture, imported spices and cosmetics can all contain lead. But what can parents, medical providers, and government officials do to ensure more children are tested for lead in Washington State?

In this episode of Docs Talk, the official podcast for the King County Medical Society, a group of experts discuss the lead problem in Washington State. Candace Jackson, a Lead/Toxics Educator Consultant, and Shirlee Tan, a toxicologist, both with Best Starts for Kids, share how Best Starts and Public Health-Seattle & King County are partnering with communities to understand the best way to get word out about lead risks, while also increasing access to lead testing of toys and homes. Listen to the podcast at the top of this page, or on SoundCloud.

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