DHR promotes campaign to reduce lead in the environment
ATLANTA (GA) - The Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health is partnering with the Georgia Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (GCLPPP), the Georgia Recycling Coalition and others to promote reusing and recycling analog televisions which will be replaced due to the digital TV transition in February 2009. Because analog TVs can have up to eight pounds of lead per television, the Division of Public Health encourages individuals to recycle or reuse their analog TVs to minimize their exposure to this naturally occurring metal.
"We are encouraging citizens to recycle or reuse their analog televisions as many of these sets will end up in landfills and junk piles where they can potentially contaminate soil and groundwater," said Dr. Sandra Elizabeth Ford, acting director of the Division of Public Health. "We are creating and distributing materials that will, hopefully, increase awareness about toxic lead exposure and provide information about recycling events and other recycling resources available in Georgia during the next several months."
Lead is found in small amounts in the earth's crust and can affect almost every organ and system in the body. The main target for lead toxicity is the nervous system, both in adults and children. Long-term exposure causes muscle weakness in the hands and feet, increase in blood pressure, particularly in middle-aged and older people, and can cause anemia. Exposure to high lead levels can severely damage the brain and kidneys in adults and children.
In pregnant women, high levels of lead may cause miscarriages. Unborn children can be exposed to lead through their mothers. Harmful effects include premature births, smaller babies, decreased mental ability in the infant and learning difficulties. Children are most vulnerable to lead poisoning than adults. A child exposed to a large amount of lead or repeated exposures to low levels may develop anemia, severe stomach ache, muscle weakness, and brain damage. Low levels of lead can also affect a child's mental and physical growth.
During the digital TV transition, TV sets that are not reused or recycled will be sent to landfills. Landfills are costly in terms of financial expense, land allocation, environmental impacts and potential human exposures to toxic chemicals. One source of the problem can be traced to the community level where household electronics and other potentially hazardous wastes are disposed of and end up in landfills. By reducing the number of analog TV sets that enter the waste stream, residents can reduce the amount of lead that enters the environment and the potential for toxic exposures.
Individuals are encouraged to take part in the upcoming Sony consumer electronics recycling event to be held on November 22 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Turner Field. Recyclable items being accepted at the event include: televisions, computer monitors, computer systems, VCRs, DVDs and other consumer electronics.
For more information about the Chemical Hazards Program or any other public health program in Georgia, visit www.health.state.ga.us.
Source: Georgia Department of Human Resources
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