Healthy Ways to Fight Lead Poisoning

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Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Imagine Englewood If, a youth services organization based in that South Side neighborhood.

Every year in October, Imagine Englewood If (IEI) participates in “Make a Difference Day.” On “Make a Difference Day,” people from all over the country do something to change others’ lives in a positive way. On Oct. 29 of last year, IEI put together an event for people living in the Englewood community to inform them of the dangers of lead poisoning. “Englewood has the highest percentage of people in the nation who are affected by lead poisoning,” said Jean Carter Hill, Executive Director of IEI.

People stopped by the Lead Information table to find out more about the affects lead poisoning has on children who has been diagnosed with it. Latunya McMurtry’s son was diagnosed with Lead Poising in 1990. McMurty said, “I did not understand the effects of it then, until he went to second grade. In kindergarten, the school tried to label him as a child with ADHD and put him on medication. It didn’t mess with my son mentally, but I knew I had to change his diet.” She said that after changing her son’s diet, he wasn’t affected seriously, but the lead still remained in his system.

According to a healthy diet booklet entitled “Fight Lead Poisoning with a Healthy Diet,” lead poisoning can be prevented or minimized by changing the eating habits of children under 6 years old. The breakfast diet suggestions are oatmeal swirls, sliced bananas and orange juice or french toast, orange sections and low fat milk. It suggests the child have grilled cheese and tomatoes, coleslaw, pizza bagel, 100% fruit juice, fresh or canned peaches, and low fat milk. Dinner options can be sloppy joe, watermelon, low fat milk, chicken stew, rice and strawberries. Healthy eating and early testing can prepare parents for dealing with lead poisoning.

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