Eliminating Childhood Lead Poisoning in New York State by 2010

I. Statement of Purpose: The Elimination of Childhood Lead Poisoning in New York State by 2010

Lead is the leading recognized environmental poison for children in New York State. Exposure to lead is associated with a range of serious health effects on children, including detrimental effects on cognitive and behavioral development with serious personal and social consequences that may persist throughout their lifetime.

Lead poisoning is a completely preventable condition. Reflecting decades of work at a federal, state, and local level, average blood lead levels among children have declined steadily in New York State and nationwide. Yet in some communities, especially those suffering from poverty and other social disadvantage, lead poisoning remains a significant problem. Moreover, growing knowledge about the toxicity of lead demonstrates that even levels of lead once thought to be safe can have serious detrimental effects on young children.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with the President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks for Children, have called for the elimination of childhood lead poisoning (defined as blood lead levels at or above 10 mcg/dL among children aged six years and younger) by the year 2010. This goal is consistent with the long-standing work done in New York State under the leadership of the Department of Health, and serves as a call to action to strengthen current lead poisoning prevention activities.

In response to the CDC's charge, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has taken a leadership role in developing this strategic plan for the elimination of childhood lead poisoning in New York State by 2010. This plan, covering upstate New York, is a companion to the strategic plan under development by New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, covering New York City. Because the burden of childhood lead poisoning is substantial in New York State, the plans developed by New York State and New York City represent key components of efforts to reach the national goal, as well as goals for the state of New York.

This plan is intended to serve as a roadmap to guide the work of the Department and partner organizations statewide in efforts to eliminate childhood lead poisoning over the next five years. At the same time, it is recognized to be a living document that may be refined in response to changing needs and opportunities in New York State.

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