SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The number of San Diego County children suffering from severe lead poisoning has decreased by 61 percent since 2004, local health officials announced Wednesday.
Fifty-four children in the county were found to have elevated blood lead levels in 2004, compared to 21 last year, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.
In 1996, 102 children suffered from lead poisoning in the county, according to the HHSA.
Officials attributed the decline to the county's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, which tests area children for lead exposure, and efforts to eliminate sources of lead in homes.
More than 49,000 children in San Diego County were tested for lead last year.
Lead, even in low levels, can cause severe developmental problems in children.
Nearly a quarter of a million children living in the U.S. in 2003-04 had blood lead levels high enough to cause health problems, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Despite being banned in 1979, lead-based paints remain the leading source of lead poisoning in children.
To prevent exposure, the HHSA encouraged parents to always request a lead inspection before buying an older home, and have their children tested for lead poisoning, even if they appear healthy.
In the wake of the Gate Fire, which ignited May 20, the Bureau of Land Management has issued new restrictions for Southern California counties, including San Diego.
Veterans are being honored across San Diego County during Memorial Day weekend and dozens of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were among those spending their Saturday placing American flags at burial sites at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
With thousands of San Diegans expected to celebrate the holiday weekend at the beach, lifeguards are on high alert and a have a few warnings for those headed to the water.
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, is scheduled to visit local Navy personnel in San Diego and Coronado next week, her office announced Saturday.
A 30-year-old Vista man was arrested for drunk driving and failure to yield Saturday morning after leading Carlsbad police on a high-speed pursuit that ended with the suspect crashing into a pole, according to authorities.
A man, possibly armed, and holed up inside a home in the Bay Park community for about four hours Saturday surrendered to police without incident.
Vacationing homeowners were hit by thieves in Mira Mesa, but thanks to a smartphone app, the crooks did not get away with it.
Signs warning people to stay out of the water are once again posted in Imperial Beach after a new spill from Mexico dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage into the Tijuana River - polluting the South Bay.
Two defense contractors were sentenced to prison Friday for conspiring to steal more than $3 million worth of medical equipment from Camp Pendleton that the military had planned to ship overseas to treat injured Marines.