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EPA and National Nursing Centers Consortium Launches Community Lead Education Program

Release Date: 5/21/2004
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

PHILADELPHIA - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a pilot program with the National Nursing Centers Consortium for a lead education and testing program – Lead Safe D.C.

The National Nursing Centers Consortium will build community partnerships to help at-risk families eliminate lead poisoning with the D.C. Department of Health, social service agencies, churches, community organizations, schools, businesses, community health centers and physicians.

Lead Safe D.C. will include home visits by caregivers to homes with small children, a blood-lead testing program emphasizing the need for annual screening, and community workshops for families. The programs will have direct impact on children’s health.

The National Nursing Centers Consortium consists of community-based health centers that are managed by nurses. EPA will support this educational program with a $100,000 grant.

The consortium is successful in protecting children’s health. Since 1999, the National Nursing Centers Consortium has run programs in Philadelphia, Lead Safe Babies, which seeks to eliminate lead poisoning, and Asthma Safe Kids, working to reduce triggers that set off asthma attacks. In 2002, both programs were expanded to the Pittsburgh-area and Western Pennsylvania.

Asthma is the number one chronic disease for children, and lead poisoning is the leading environmental health hazard for children. Through Lead Safe D.C. programs, caregivers will learn that lead poisoning is preventable. Parents, grandparents, and others will be encouraged to test children, especially six and younger, for lead, and also test any homes built before 1978 for lead paint and dust.

It is important to keep in mind that children are often more heavily exposed to toxins in the environment. Pound for pound, children breathe more air, drink more water, and eat more food than adults. Their behavior patterns, such as playing on the floor and hand-to-mouth activity increases their exposure to potential toxins. In addition, they may be more vulnerable to environmental hazards because their bodies are still growing.

For more about testing for lead in drinking water, see EPA’s website at For additional information about reducing exposure to lead paint dust and other children’s health issues, see