Lead Poisoning Control Program Tackles Onondaga County Homes

Click play to find out local efforts to reduce lead poisoning in homes.

Audio Transcript: Turner- Lead Poison Wrap

By: Tamar Turner SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – The Onondaga County Health Department offers many resources to ensure it is keeping the community out of harm’s way.

One of these resources is a Lead Poisoning Control Program that was implemented more than 30 years ago. Its main goal is to educate homeowners about the risks of lead exposure so they can prevent the recurring problem.

Ann Barnett, Public Health Educator of the program says that 92% of homes in Syracuse were built before 1978, the year lead was banned.

“One major misconception is when we tell a family their child has a high lead level, they don’t understand where it’s coming from,” said Barnett.

Lead mainly poisons young children because of how quickly it can attack their organs when ingested. It can come from a variety of items from imported spices to cosmetics, but is mainly found in old paint and dust.

“Our whole focus now is to be preventative and get these homes inspected,” said Barnett.

Eight years ago the department adopted a pilot program called “Primary Prevention” which with resident’s permission allows them to go inside the home to be able to do lead testing. The targeted homes must fall under certain criteria, such as having chipped paint ora child living there.

Barnett said the program works with doctors and consultants to make sure that no child “slips through the cracks.” They not only test the children and homes, but have follow up appointments and bi-weekly check-ins to make sure lead is no longer a problem.

New York York State Public Health requires a lead test for all children at age one, then again a year later. Barnett encourages the community to continue seeking the proper resources because lead poisoning is preventable.


Pamphlets provided by the Lead Poisoning Control Program.