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Lead exposure remains a concern for children, adults in New York state

Howard Weinberger, MD (photo by Jim Howe)

Howard Weinberger, MD (photo by Jim Howe)

"The children should not be the canaries in the coal mine," says Howard Weinberger, MD, a professer emeritus of pediatrics who serves as medical director of the Central/Eastern Regional Lead Poisoning Prevention Resource Center. Children currently undergo a blood test at ages 1 and 2 to see whether they've been exposed to lead. Weinberger would rather be able to test the homes of children before they are exposed to see whether the homes pose a lead poisoning risk. In the Syracuse area, up to 80 percent of houses may contain lead paint. It's not a problem if the paint is in good condition, but when it begins to chip or peel, children can be poisoned by eating paint chips or breathing in paint dust. Weinberger explains why lead exposure can be so dangerous to the developing brains of children. High levels of lead can also damage the liver and kidneys of children and adults.

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