The Lead Free Promise Project (LFPP) hosted an information session in Crawford County on Thursday, March 31.

The LFPP partnered with the Meadville Family YMCA and Allegheny College to hold the session, which began with a press conference.

Residents throughout Crawford and Warren County spoke with health and human service agencies to learn what they could do to prevent lead poisoning as well as the key steps to take in the event that a child has been exposed.

The speakers at the session brought to light that nearly 8,000 children in Pennsylvania are still poisoned every year.

Dr. Caryl Waggett, Professor of Global Health Studies at Allegheny College, said that lead poisoning is preventable.

“Many families with young children live in homes built before 1978, when lead was finally banned from paint. There is no safe threshold for lead exposure — and the cognitive and neurological effects are permanent. Investing in strategies to reduce or eliminate exposure to lead sources is essential to ensure that children can live to their full potential.” 

Dr. Caryl Waggett, Professor of Global Health Studies at Allegheny College

Stacie Hiott, Vice President of Child Care at the Meadville Family YMCA, said that they believe in empowering parents through education to best care for their children.

“A staggering 72% of all homes in Crawford County were built before lead paint was banned – that’s a lot of homes, Our younger children continue to have higher lead levels than the state average. This is enough children to fill four preschool classrooms and we are only screening 15% of those children. It’s time to do better, to help prevent the delays caused by this.”   

Barb Clark, Early Intervention Coordinator at Crawford County Human Services

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Seven parent engagement sessions will be held across the state to educate parents about the risks associated with lead paint poisoning.

The LFPP launched its 50-plus coalition this year, vowing to remove lead-based hazards and ensuring that all children are screened for lead poisoning as part of a comprehensive wellness exam.

For more information about the Lead Free Promise Project, click here.