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Wilton Offers Help to Protect Against Lead Poisoning

WILTON, Conn. – Lead poisoning may be on the decline, but the Wilton Health Department is making sure it is working to keep residents safe from its dangers.

Through an annual $1,350 grant from the state, Wilton's Health Department Director Steve Schole will continue educating and working with residents to prevent lead poisoning. Wilton has not seen a huge problem with lead contamination, he said.

It's an annual grant, said First Selectman Bill Brennan. In the past, it has gone to fund equipment purchases and presentations. Schole said he almost didn’t apply for it this year because in the past it had been higher and more open ended.

During a meeting with the Board of Selectmen on Monday night, Schole said he had worked with a day care center on how to deal with lead in the past year.

“They found some lead paint,” he said. “Children put stuff in their mouths” so there was a concern for the health of the students. The grant money covered the presentation he gave there and his salary for the time he spent with them.

Lead paint has been banned since 1977, but it may still be on the walls and dust in older homes and buildings.

Lead poisoning can happen when lead is inhaled or ingested, either through food, soil, water or dust, the federal Environmental Protection Agency says. Lead poisoning can be particularly harmful to children, causing brain damage, anemia, kidney or liver damage, or possibly death, among other problems. In adults, it can cause nerve damage, reproductive problems, or hearing and sight damage.

According to the EPA, the symptoms of lead poisoning are not unique or specific and include:

• persistent fatigue 

• irritability

• loss of appetite

• stomach discomfort and/or constipation 

• reduced attention span

• insomnia

“It’s a preventable thing. You just have to take proper precautions,” Schole said.

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