On October 6th the U.S. Senate unanimously designated this week, October 18-24, 2009, as National Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.

Lead paint is one of the most common, yet preventable threats to our children. Exposure can cause severe physiological and cognitive defects. Every year dozens of toys are recalled for exceeding permitted levels of lead paint. It’s estimated that 240,000 children under the age of 6 in the U.S. have harmful levels of lead in their blood.

With the passage of the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), Congress began to regulate lead paint with much stricter standards. In the past year Congress has initiated a reductions schedule that currently allows only 300 ppm (parts per million) and may drop to 100 ppm by August 2011. In addition, many types of products are now required to undergo mandatory 3rd party testing, proving the absence of lead.

The most common source of lead for children is still from housing stock painted with lead-tainted paint before the 1970’s. All children under six should have their lead levels checked regularly by a doctor.

Visit here for more information on lead poisoning. For information on lead recalls, you may visit the CPSC’s website.