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Associated Press, Published October 03 2010

Pawlenty declares lead poisoning awareness week

ST. PAUL – Public health officials in Minnesota say they’ve made progress in preventing childhood lead poisoning, but more needs to be done.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has declared this week Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in Minnesota. National lead poisoning prevention week runs from Oct. 24-30.

Children with elevated blood lead levels can face many potential health issues, including slow growth, hearing problems and, at very high levels, serious neurological damage or death.

Lead-based paint in older homes remains the primary source of lead poisoning for children. In Minnesota, there are an estimated one million homes that contain lead paint.

The Health Department reports that in 1995, more than 4,000 Minnesota children under the age of 6 had elevated blood lead levels, but by 2009 that number had dropped to 778.

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