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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Ards announce birth of new son

Michael and Darcy Gooding Ard of Humble, announce the arrival of their new baby boy, James David Edward Ard who was born Jan. 31.

He weighed nine pounds and measured 21 inches long at birth.

Welcoming home to the family were sisters, Eileen, 17 years old and Naomi, five years and his brother, Redmon, 15 years old.

Maternal grandparents are James and Beverly Thomas of Pecos.

Paternal grandparents are Ed and Joyce Ard of Murrelles Inlet, South Carolina.

Children should be screened for lead

A culprit lurks in the dust created when some imported vinyl miniblinds "break down" in the sun. It can show up in tamarind candies or leach into food from some types of pottery. It can hide in the flaking paint on a windowsill, waiting for a small child to explore and taste from dirty hands, a toy or a pacifier. And it can steal a child's future by causing learning disabilities, lower IQ scores or other physical or behavioral problems.

This culprit is lead, and young children are particularly vulnerable to damage from lead because their bodies and brains are still developing.

The Texas Department of Health (TDH) estimates that if all Texas children ages one through five were tested for poisoning, we would find 59,3000 of them with a blood-lead level of concern (10-19 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood). "Damage from lead in the blood cannot be reversed, but treatment is available to stop further damage," said Lisa Collins, health educator with the Childhood Lead Poisoning Program at TDH. "That's why screening and prevention are so important," she said.

The screening for lead is a simple blood test that can be done during a routine visit to a health care provider. "Since lead is a problem in both urban and rural parts of the state, we encourage parents of all children age six or under to ask their doctors to screen for lead," said Collins. In addition, other children should be tested if any child in the family tests positive for lead exposure or if a member of the household works with lead.

Some of the most common symptoms of lead poisoning are irritability, abdominal and muscle pain, anemia, diarrhea or constipation. Severe cases can result in seizures, nerve damage or coma. Unfortunately, the culprit often is silent. "It is important to realize that children can be lead poisoned without showing any symptoms," said Collins. "The only way to know for sure is to have a blood-lead test," she said.

Some vinyl miniblinds imported from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mexico or Indonesia are common sources of lead in the home. The only way to determine lead content of vinyl miniblinds is by conducting expensive tests. Parents of small children may want to remove or replace them with miniblinds made in the United States.

Another source is old paint. Prior to 1978 lead was a component of paint, so houses build before that time may have some lead-based paint. Lead-based paint on woodwork, furniture or toys also is a concern. Lead may be found in folk medicines such as greta, azarcon and pay-loo-ah or in food that is cooked, stored or served in pottery with lead-based glaze or in lead crystal. Some Mexican candies may contain lead leached from wrappers. Lead also may be found in car batteries and radiators, bullets, sinkers used in fishing tackle and even the soil.

Collins offers some simple steps parents can take to protect themselves and their children from lead exposure:

*Wash children's hands and faces before they eat or sleep.

· Wash toys, pacifiers and eating utensils if they come in contact with the ground.

· Wash hands and countertops in warm soapy water before preparing food.

· Wash fruits and vegetables before serving them.

· Foods high in iron and calcium provide some protection from lead. Include lean meat, raisins, milk, greens, eggs and cheese in your family's diet.

· Clean older homes by wet mopping or vacuuming floors and wiping down windowsills and miniblinds with soap and water weekly.

Particular care should be exercised when renovating older homes. Make sure children are out of the house until renovation is complete. When sanding painted surfaces or removing old wallpaper, cover or clean any surfaces that may come in contact with food or that a small child may touch.

Those who work with car batteries or radiators, lead smelting, or in the removal of old paint should change their clothes before going home, leave work boots or shoes outside the home, and wash their work clothes separately from the rest of the family's laundry.

Pageant seeking contestants

Applications are now being taken for girls in Kindergarten and First Grade, who would like to participate in the 2003 Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant.

Applications may be picked up at the Pecos Chamber of Commerce Office, 111 S. Cedar St.

The deadline to register is March 31.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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Copyright 2003 by Pecos Enterprise