In the past five years, more than 36,000 children younger than 6 years old tested with blood lead levels at or above 5µg/dL, the level at which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend clinical and educational interventions to reduce lead exposures among children. This fall, Environmental Resource Program (ERP) educators Megan Hoert Hughes and Neasha Graves partnered with regional and state public health agencies to prepare clinical and environmental health professionals with knowledge of emerging issues regarding lead exposure.
As part of ERP’s role in coordinating statewide outreach activities for the NC Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP), Hughes and Graves conducted “lead talks” this fall to more than 120 environmental health specialists and health educators employed in local health departments in the mountain, southeast and northeast regions of the state. The presentations highlighted information on emerging, nontraditional sources of lead in consumer products, the effects of lead on pregnant women and infants, and recent state and federal policies implemented to minimize lead exposure among at-risk populations.
ERP collaborated with other NC CLPPP staff and the NC State Laboratory of Public Health to coordinate a statewide clinical lead training for over 100 healthcare providers across the state on October 22-23. Across the two days, the training, which was offered in-person and as a live webcast, featured research on sources and health effects of lead exposure, policies around testing and environmental investigations for small children, information on blood lead sample collection and reporting, and strategies and materials for educating families of small children. State Lab Hemachemistry Supervisor Kate Mason praised the multi-faceted training approach, “The North Carolina State Laboratory of Public health is pleased to have the opportunity to partner with NC CLPPP to provide the Clinical Blood Lead training. We feel the training’s combination of policy, clinical and educational resources for healthcare providers was imperative. HCPs have limited travel abilities and enormous workloads, and the ability to ask questions during the live webcast was an added bonus.”
Funding is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Grant 1UE1EH001276) for these activities.