One of the most prevalent environmental health problems affecting Texans is lead poisoning. Elevated lead is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as having a blood lead level of greater than 3.5 g/dL (Mayans, 2019). Developmental problems are linked to children’s blood with high metal content. The central nervous system is negatively impacted (Yang et al., 2020). If the levels are extremely high, it might possibly lead to death and seizures. Like other states, Texas has trouble keeping lead out of the environment. However, the levels continue to be high due to pealing old paint and other causes. People continue to be at danger and severely exposed to the metal.
Levels of Lead Exposure and Poisoning
Texans still have a considerable risk of lead poisoning even though the risk is not very great. Bent County in Texas tracks its levels of lead poisoning. Typically, the state conducts screenings for lead poisoning in kids to establish the prevalence and, therefore, the best course of action. Texas Department of Health and Human Services, 2020, reports that the most current data set is from that year. Elevated blood lead levels (EBLLs) were observed to occur at a rate of 0.76. The data was based on 7,353 children who had annual screenings and were diagnosed (Texas Department of Health and Human Services, 2020). As a result, many kids are at danger for lead poisoning’s negative effects. But compared to earlier levels, the present ones are better. Data from the county level is used. Children are the main victims of the issue.
How the Current Policy Addresses it
Fort Bent now depends on state-run initiatives to deal with the problem. The state employs a number of strategies to deal with the problem. Both monitoring and public outreach are part of the policy. The reference number of 3.5 µg/dL is used by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The Texas Department of Health and Human Services used a CDC statistic to track lead exposure levels in the state in 2020. The state facilitates measurement of the rates of lead in children by providing the standard value, which improves the county’s program execution. Two main programs comprise the surveillance. They consist of the Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance Program (ABLES) and the Texas Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (TXCLPPP). TXCLPPP focuses on those over the age of 15. ABLES, on the other hand, targets those above the age of 15. As required by law, TXCLPPP gathers information from healthcare professionals such as doctors, hospitals, and nurses. All test results, including elevated and unelevated results, must be reported to the department by professionals. The goal of ABLES is to protect workplaces and other settings from lead and other hazards under the Texas Reportable Occupational Conditions Act. The information makes it possible to put initial preventative measures in place to avert lead poisoning (Texas Department of Health and Human Services, 2020). For example, it makes it possible to suggest and execute modifications in areas where lead exposures may have occurred.
Changes and Steps to Cause Policy Change
Generally speaking, the existing policy mandates monitoring. It must be improved in order to support primary prevention as well. In order to assist professionals and parents decrease their exposure and better safeguard their children, more public education is needed. Particularly in regions like Fort Bent with high risks of lead poisoning, public education should be conducted. The educational materials have to be directed towards school-aged youngsters. They should get instruction on how to properly wash their hands, stay away from contaminating objects like walls, and have a yearly lead level test. To help people realize how important it is to prevent lead poisoning, it is also crucial to educate them about the harmful consequences of lead (Mayans, 2019). For instance, it may impair brain development and, in severe cases, result in death. The likelihood that the change will be successful will be increased by creating the sense of urgency.
Nurses must promote change in order to start the policy change. To achieve their objectives, they must use the resources at hand. After determining that the problem is important enough to be resolved by a policy, experts should study the evidence and provide it to the policymakers, such as congress representatives. Using one’s expertise to press for the required reforms is advocacy. Professionals working at facilities where blood tests reveal elevated levels of lead, for instance, should utilize the data and compare it to the rest of the state. Comparing the two will highlight the county’s comparatively higher lead levels than others. Nurses may write to their politicians to urge them to support the reform or bring up the concerns with their professional associations to persuade lawmakers.
All relevant parties must be engaged for policy changes to be successful. Stakeholders include the administrators of the Texas Health Department, nurses, and doctors. Implementing public policy is the responsibility of government representatives. Therefore, they should make sure institutions put in place the proper methods to gather and utilise educational data in settings like schools and hospitals. Hospital administrators, for example, need to be engaged as well (Malakoane et al., 2020). In their organizations’ facilities and divisions, the administrators oversee change implementation. For instance, administrators take involved in budgeting and make sure there are the funds to make the necessary adjustment. Administrators will make sure to hire adequate experts and that they fulfill their obligations with regard to the problem.
Impacts on the Healthcare System
Changes that are made to lower lead exposure and poisoning in Fort Bent and Texas will have an influence on the healthcare system. For instance, there will be resource rivalry as a result of the programs’ increased resource use. Therefore, further expenditures should be made to facilitate the implementation of the change. More expertise and resources are needed for testing, treatment, and data exchange (Malakoane et al., 2020). In order for the health department to provide the services outlined in the new policy, additional resources need be allocated to it. The government should prepare for increased spending. In order to guarantee that people are aware of lead poisoning, payers will also invest more money in testing and education.
One of the health issues affecting Fort Bent County is lead poisoning. The nation’s population have much greater levels of increased leaf levels despite the monitoring procedures currently in place. Because it puts a lot of individuals at risk for nervous system problems and mortality, the scenario is unhealthy. Therefore, it’s crucial to improve regulations that shield individuals from lead exposure. Advocates for policy changes should be nurses. To obtain the best results, implementation should include input from all relevant parties.
Malakoane, B., Heunis, J. C., Chikobvu, P., Kigozi, N. G., & Kruger, W. H. (2020). Public health system challenges in the Free State, South Africa: a situation appraisal to inform health system strengthening. BMC Health Services Research, 20, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-019-4862-y
Mayans, L. (2019). Lead poisoning in children. American family physician, 100(1), 24-30. https://familydoctor.org/lead-poisoning-in-children/
Texas Department of Health and Human Services. (2020). Blood Lead Surveillance Branch. https://www.dshs.texas.gov/sites/default/files/uploadedFiles/Content/Prevention_and_Preparedness/lead/pdf_files/2019-by-County_0-5_Accessible.pdf
Yang, Y., Li, S., Wang, H., Liu, M., Tuo, B., Wu, H., & Liu, X. (2020). Chronic lead poisoning induced abdominal pain and anemia: a case report and review of the literature. BMC gastroenterology, 20(1), 1-5. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12876-020-01482-x