State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R,C - Schenectady) announced his office will be participating in the annual free health carnival and lead screening on May 25th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Catholic Charities parking lot, 1 Kimball Street, Amsterdam.
"This is a terrific health fair complete with free lead screenings for children," Senator Farley said. "Under New York State law, all children ages one and two are required to have lead screenings. Parents also need to provide proof of a child's lead screening before the child is enrolled in a nursery school, day care or preschool. The health fair will enable families to get the screening for free and to be in compliance with the public health law."
According to the State Department of Health, lead poisoning is one of the most prevalent and preventable childhood health problems in New York State, Senator Farley said. "That is why our State's Lead Poisoning Prevention Act is one of the leading programs in the nation for screening young children for lead poisoning. The Act requires all pediatric health care providers to screen one- and two-year-olds for lead levels in their blood streams as part of routine child care and to also assess children between the ages of six months and six years for thier risk of lead poisoning."
Senator Farley said that lead can be toxic at levels previously thought to be safe. Children with low levels of exposure can suffer from low IQs, developmental disabilities, and behavioral disturbances. At higher levels of exposure, mental retardation, nervous system disorders, kidney damage and high blood pressure can occur at higher levels of exposure, Senator Farley added.
"Since most children who have lead poisoning don't look sick, it is important to have children tested regularly," Senator Farley said. Some symptoms of lead poisoning can include moodiness or irritability, constipation, short attention span, headaches and joint or muscle pain.
Senator Farley has a free and informative brochure on lead poisoning that will be available at his booth on May 25th. Copies are also available at his office by calling 455-2181 (Albany), 843-2188 (Amsterdam), 762-3733 (Johnstown), or toll-free at (800) 224-5201.