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$1.1 Million Project to Prevent Lead Exposure

February 2005

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the Health Science Center a $1.1 million grant to support expanded screening of children and pregnant women for lead exposure and to encourage more physicians to test for lead before symptoms appear.

The Health Science Centerís division of community pediatrics is coordinating Project L.I.F.E., short for "Lead Investigation and Family Education," which engages partners including the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, the Neighborhood Action Department of the city of San Antonio, The University of Texas at San Antonio and The University of Minnesota.

Lead poisoning, which affects an estimated 1 million American children ages
1 to 5, is linked to kidney damage, anemia, developmental deficits, poor memory and other cognitive issues, skin problems, failure to thrive, and damage to nerves that transmit information from the brain and spinal cord throughout the body. Alarmingly, lead crosses the placenta into the womb.

Victor German, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the division of community pediatrics, is the principal investigator. "Through increased education, we want to mediate the short- and long-term effects of lead on the children and mothers and prevent future lead exposure," he said.

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Updated 12/11/14