Peeling lead paint remains the most commonly identified source of exposure in children with elevated blood lead levels among all races and ethnicities in New York City
Unsafe consumer products – including some traditional health remedies, spices, cosmetics and religious powders – present high risk of lead exposure for families from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan
Campaign is part of Mayor de Blasio’s LeadFreeNYC, a roadmap to identify and eradicate lead health risks in New York City
January 30, 2019 – The Health Department today announced an awareness campaign on lead exposure specifically for the South Asian community. While peeling lead paint remains the primary source of lead exposure in young children among all races and ethnicities, some traditional consumer products used in the South Asian community can contain lead. The campaign advises New Yorkers about the health risks of lead exposure, provides recommendations on how to reduce exposure and encourages blood lead testing for New Yorkers who use or come into contact with these products. It will appear in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, in communities with large South Asian populations. The campaign will run in English, Hindi, Urdu, and Bengali. Ads will appear on bus shelters, newspapers, neighborhood shops and online, and an accompanying brochure will be widely distributed. The Health Department has also been partnering with community-based organizations to raise awareness of this important issue. The $500,000 campaign will run through March. The South Asian lead campaign is part of LeadFreeNYC, the City’s roadmap to eliminating childhood lead exposure.
“Some South Asian cosmetics, religious powders, Ayurvedic medicines and spices can contain lead, but lead may not be listed on the products’ packaging,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “We want the South Asian community to be aware of this potential hazard and be careful when using these types of products. Children and pregnant women who use these products are especially at risk, but lead can be harmful to people of all ages. The more often a person uses these products, the greater the health risk. Users of these types of products should speak with their doctor and ask for a blood lead test.”
“Lead poisoning is a serious and deadly issue in our state,” said Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez. “With the wave of recent campaigns to raise awareness of high lead levels within old apartment buildings and NYCHA complexes, it is equally important to bring attention to our immigrant communities who may be in danger of over exposure as well. This campaign allocating funds to target the South Asian community of potential lead related health risks is a necessary step towards promoting good health and awareness.”
Lead is a harmful metal that can cause serious health problems in both children and adults. When exposed to lead, children can develop learning and behavior problems. In adults, lead exposure can increase the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women and infertility in both men and women.
Lead exposure is preventable. What can you do to protect yourself?
The Health Department, through its Healthy Homes and Environmental Health Assessment and Communication Programs, have developed a comprehensive approach to address elevated blood lead levels in children and adults and to reduce lead hazards in homes and communities. This includes follow-up investigations of individuals with elevated blood lead levels, environmental interventions and enforcement activities, education and outreach, surveillance and research. Under LeadFreeNYC, New York City will:
MEDIA CONTACT: Stephanie Buhle/Michael Lanza, (347) 396-4177