A free workshop on the hazards of lead poisoning will take place Saturday.
South Los Angeles residents are particularly at risk of lead poisoning because many area homes were built before 1970, when lead paint was widely used, said Rajendra H. Samana, an environmental planner for Concerned Citizens of South-Central Los Angeles, which is sponsoring the workshop. Lead-soldered water pipes, automobile exhaust and lead deposits in soil can also cause lead poisoning.
"The effects in children are brain damage and neurological problems. Parents should be aware of it," said Samana, who is coordinating the workshop. "We know that a lot of children in the inner city probably have been poisoned by lead from the paint in their homes or from the soil that is outside their homes. It's time for us to educate parents on identifying the sources of lead and have them go to the hospital to get lead tests."
Forum participants will include Dr. Paul Papanek, a toxicologist; Erin Pauley, a laboratory specialist; Robert Kleinerman, county environmental health specialist; Joan Rayes, an environmental public health nurse; and a representative of the Hubert J. Humphrey Medical Center.
"There's a lot of lead poisoning cases coming in because there's so much more awareness," said Janet Comey of the Department of Health Services' Lead Poison Abatement Program. Comey suggested that 6- and 7-year-olds be tested for lead poisoning, noting that in many cases the tests can be obtained free if parents do not have health insurance.
The workshop, one in a series of environmental programs planned for area residents, is funded by a $10,000 grant from the Shalan Foundation.
The forum is from noon to 2 p.m. in the auditorium of the McKinley Avenue Elementary School, 7812 S. McKinley Ave. A Spanish language interpreter will be on hand. Information: (213) 235-1128.