The Nicholson Foundation has awarded a $525,657 grant to the Neighborhood Connections to Health Coalition, an organization comprising healthcare stakeholders in the Greater Freehold area. The grant will help the Coalition strengthen its organizational structure and its efforts to engage the community, which will enable it to carry out a key public health intervention: protecting children in the Freehold area from harmful exposure to lead.
Exposure to lead in households and schools poses a significant health risk to young children in their critical development years. It can cause irreversible damage to the body, negatively affecting IQ, attention span, hyperactivity, growth, and learning abilities.
The Coalition chose lead exposure as the focus for its public health work after an assessment of the area’s social determinants of health revealed lead exposure to be a significant preventable health problem in the community. Freehold Borough lags behind county, state and national averages for Blood Lead Level (BLL) screenings, yet the children who are screened show excessively high BLL.
Working with the Freehold Area Health Department, the Coalition will support enhanced mobile screening as a primary prevention tactic. Primary prevention assesses and remediates lead risks before a child is exposed, while secondary prevention manages the effects after a child has been exposed. The ultimate goal of the project is to reduce incidence of elevated blood lead levels in Freehold Borough children and protect them from further lead exposure.
This NJ school district might test all of its students for lead, Asbury Park Press