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The Wyoming Department of Health is raising awareness of lead poisoning

Closeup of doctor checking patient daily report checklist
Closeup of doctor checking patient daily report checklist

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is participating in a national, public awareness campaign. In collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), WDH is hosting a public health campaign focused on lead poisoning and its prevention. Forrest Sharp, a WDH Lead Prevention specialist said through education tools and awareness, Wyomingites can help reduce the number of lead poisoning cases.

“The goal is to get parents to play a more proactive role in their children's health, and to try to increase testing rates and just knowledge of the exposure in the home so that we can actually prevent the exposure before it happens, “ said Sharp.

U.S census data places more than half of homes in Wyoming as being built before 1980, a time when structures were built with lead-based paint. That leaves families, and more actively, children at risk of lead consumption. Sharp said the consequence for children is high.

“Most children that are exposed to lead are asymptomatic, so they don't realize that they've been exposed until they get tested. And that can be dangerous because the damages from lead poisoning are lifelong and irreversible,” he said.

Sharp emphasizes that there are no safe levels of lead one can have in their blood. In young children, lead can lead to developmental issues, trouble focusing, thinking, and even affect body growth over time. While treatment exists for lead poisoning, prevention is a significantly healthier route to take according to Sharp.

To combat health risks, WDH will be hosting public informational webinars this week. To find out more or sign up for those webinars, check out the Wyoming Department of Health website.

Jordan Uplinger was born in NJ but has traveled since 2013 for academic study and work in Oklahoma, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. He gained experience in a multitude of areas, including general aviation, video editing, and political science. In 2021, Jordan's travels brought him to find work with the Wyoming Conservation Corps as a member of Americorps. After a season with WCC, Jordan continued his Americorps service with the local non-profit, Feeding Laramie Valley. His deep interest in the national discourse on class, identity, American politics and the state of material conditions globally has led him to his current internship with Wyoming Public Radio and NPR.

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