Elevated Levels of Lead in Local Child’s Blood Leads to Nationwide Recall of Spice

NEWS RELEASE

October 21, 2013

CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/ Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov

Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925

Elevated Levels of Lead in Local Child’s Blood Leads to Nationwide Recall of Spice

Erie County Public Health Investigator Discovers Link Shortly Before National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week October 20 – 26, 2013

ERIE COUNTY, NY— To increase awareness of childhood lead poisoning prevention, the Erie County Department of Health (“ECDOH”) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is participating in National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) October 20-26.

ECDOH offers three programs that support the elimination of lead poisoning: Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Lead Poisoning Primary Prevention Program and Lead Hazard Control Program.

In early October, as part of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Heather Williams-Pudlak, an ECDOH Investigating Public Health Sanitarian was seeking the source of an Elevated Blood Lead (“EBL”) level in a local child. The child and family are refugees who have resettled to the West side of Buffalo.

When Ms. Williams-Pudlak could not identify a source in the child’s home, she expanded her search further to include the family’s food sources. A sample was taken from the family’s turmeric, a spice used frequently in their diet, and sent to a private laboratory for testing. The product, which was manufactured in Bangladesh, was found to have high levels of lead. Subsequent samples tested by the Food and Drug Administration found lead at 53 ppm (parts per million).

“I am extremely proud of the excellent work Ms. Williams-Pudlak and all the Public Health Sanitarians provide to the residents of Erie County,” stated Erie County Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale Burstein. “Not only did she save this child from possible medical problems, but also other children who may have also ingested this ingredient.”

Children under age 6 years are most at risk for lead poisoning. Children at highest risk of lead exposure who have not been tested as part of Erie County’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program should be tested as soon as possible, preferably at ages 1 and 2, and up to 6 years old if they meet certain risk factors.

Commissioner Burstein adds: “Ending a child’s exposure to lead from leaded paint, house dust, or any other source is the best way to prevent its harmful effects. No medical treatment permanently reverses the potential adverse health effects of lead exposure, including behavior and learning problems, such as hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems, and aggressive patterns of behavior.”

The Erie County Legislature will issue a proclamation in recognition of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week and Dr. Burstein will be available for questions marking the event on Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 2:00 pm in the Legislative chambers at Erie County Hall.

In addition, on Wednesday, October 23, 2013, the ECDOH will be offering “Lead Safe Work Practices Course for Homeowners” performing Lead Remediation / General Remodeling on their pre-1978 built homes.  This free course will provide the basic knowledge to homeowners on lead and its hazards to health, and how to safely remediate those hazards in order to not cause detrimental health effects to anyone in the home. The course begins at 9 am, with registration at 8:30 am at the ECDOH Environmental Health Division at 503 Kensington Avenue, Buffalo. Call 716.961.6800 for additional information.

For more information

The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) offers the following programs that support the elimination of lead poisoning:

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

http://www2.erie.gov/health/index.php?q=childhood-lead-poisoning-prevention-program-clppp

Lead Poisoning Primary Prevention Program http://www2.erie.gov/health/index.php?q=node/36

Lead Hazard Control Program http://www2.erie.gov/health/index.php?q=node/37

For more information about these programs, or for general information on how to help prevent lead poisoning, contact the ECDOH Environmental Health Division at 716-961-6800.

For more Information on lead poisoning visit the following web sites:

Centers for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/nlppw.htm

New York State Department of Health Lead Poisoning Prevention http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/lead/

EPA http://www2.epa.gov/lead

HUD Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/healthy_homes

Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo - Wipe Out Lead http://www.wipeoutlead.com/

Western New York Lead Resource Center http://www.kaleidahealth.org/childrens/services/display.asp?s=587

Information on the Recalled Turmeric: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm370854.htm

 

Contact

Phone: (716) 858-7690

Fax: (716) 858-8701

Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH)
95 Franklin Street
Buffalo, New York 14202

ECDOH Locations

Western New York 211