Flint, Michigan's lead-laced water supply and its young victims have dominated headlines, but it's a familiar story for hundreds of families in Kansas City whose children have lead poisoning.
In Kansas City, doctors are currently treating 300 children for lead poisoning; yet the health department estimates lead has sickened up to 1,500 children.
In Flint, the water supply poisoned the children; but in Kansas City, the primary culprit is lead-based paint and contaminated dust in houses built before 1978, which makes up 78 percent of Kansas City's homes.
Exposure to lead can cause problems such as brain damage, speech delay, kidney problems and even death. Adults and children can be poisoned, but children are most at risk. Lead can be found in chipping paint and dust, dirt outside or toys.
Amy Roberts is with the Kansas City Health Department's Childhood Lead Poisoning and Prevention Program. "Lead poisoning is really an illness that can affect a person throughout their life, that's why prevention is so important," Roberts said.
The Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program works to protect Kansas City residents from the dangers of lead exposure by providing blood lead testing, case management for poisoned children and home repairs for qualified families.
If you own your own home, you may qualify for assistance in removing lead from your home. For more information on the program, call (816) 513-6048 or click here.
Lisa Benson can be reached at email@example.com.