ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)— From paint to pipes, lead has been used in a wide variety of products. If ingested, it can cause health problems, putting children especially at risk.
“Of course the younger the child is, the more sensitive they are to the toxic effects of lead,” explained Dr. Jim Saperstone. “Learning disabilities and it goes up from there. And low levels of lead intoxication does not have any symptoms. It has a cumulative silent effect. So we are very concerned about lead.”
It’s an issue Tiesha Jones is bringing awareness to, after her daughter Dakota was diagnosed with lead in her body at the age of 4.
“I wanted to prevent the same things from happening to other families,” stated Jones.
That’s why she along with Senator Gustavo Rivera worked to write Dakota’s Bill— legislation that would require annual lead screenings for children at their primary doctors appointments.
“Screening means asking a series of questions of parents all the way up until their child is 6 years-old, just to make sure that if a child is at risk, if a child has any symptoms or any signs that they might have lead in their blood that they would be given the opportunity to be tested,” explained Senator Rivera. “To have that child tested as well as potentially having their place of domicile to actually be inspected.”
Governor Hochul recently signed this bill into law.
Senator Rivera said the State Department of Health will be creating the questions that will be given to doctors. Dr. Jim Saperstone, a pediatrician weighed in.
“If states haven’t done it, it’s a great idea,” said Saperstone. “It’s an American Academy guideline when we read about the latest guidelines that we need to perform when we see kids for their healthy check ups, so absolutely.”
As for Dakota, her mother said she’s now in 11th grade and is into technology.
“She likes to code. She likes to do edits and things of that nature. And it keeps her pretty much busy. With the brain damage I can see that there were some effects. So we like to see her doing positive things and things that she likes to do.”