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EAST LOS ANGELES : Workshop Offered on Lead Dangers

September 05, 1993|MARY ANNE PEREZ

To combat the increase in lead poisoning among Latinos, a group of Eastside health and social workers will offer a training workshop for residents who will agree to go back to their neighborhoods and spread the word about the problem.

The health workers, members of the East/Northeast Networking Roundtable, decided to offer the free training because lead poisoning, if left untreated, can be fatal, said Pat Bowie, public health educator for the Highland Park Family Resource Center.

The training will be offered Sept. 28 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the center, 840 N. Avenue 66. Organizers are seeking bilingual volunteers to inform their neighbors about lead poisoning.

Lead found in paint and other materials can peel off and become a hazard, said Fernando Bravo, senior health educator for the county's Roybal Comprehensive Health Center.

Latinos, especially children, are being particularly affected because lead poisoning can also come from herbal remedies, such as azarcon and greta used to relieve indigestion, and from tamarindo candy that comes in clay pots. There was also a popular water dispenser imported from Mexico that contaminated water with lead at levels 20 times higher than safety levels, Bravo said.

"There are cultural issues," Bravo said. "The clay pots that we know so well, a lot of them have high levels of lead that, when we cook with them . . . seeps into the foods. . . . All of a sudden, these kids--and it's mostly kids--are having a high exposure to lead and they can get very sick."

Parents are often unaware that their children or other family members have been exposed, Bowie said.

"The best way to know you're exposed is to get tested, and that's the tricky part," Bowie said. "The child won't run a fever or show any signs of really being sick until suddenly it affects their learning ability. It affects development."

Registration: (213) 257-9600.

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