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WHEREAS, 867 children in Virginia, ages 15 and younger, had elevated blood lead levels in 2018; and
WHEREAS, lead poisoning occurs when lead enters the bloodstream and builds up to toxic levels; and
WHEREAS, the exposure of children to lead can result from multiple sources and can cause irreversible and life-long health effects, including damage to the brain and nervous system, learning and behavior problems, slow growth and development, and hearing and speech problems; and
WHEREAS, lead is especially dangerous to children under the age of 6; and
WHEREAS, lead poisoning is preventable, and the key is to keep children from coming into contact with lead; and
WHEREAS, there are simple steps that can be taken to protect all family members from lead based-paint hazards in the home; and
WHEREAS, lead exposure from aging and degraded infrastructure disproportionately and inequitably affects minority and low-income populations, particularly in aging and historical communities, and should be examined as an environmental justice concern; and
WHEREAS, a blood test for lead levels is required for every Medicaid-eligible child as part of the 12- and 24-month Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment screenings; and such test also is administered to any child between the ages of 36 and 72 months old who has not been previously screened; and
WHEREAS, education and awareness about the dangers of lead can help protect the lives of children living in Virginia;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize October 20-26, 2019, as NATIONAL LEAD POISONING PREVENTION WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.