Preventing Lead Poisoning in Children
Exposure to lead can cause damage to the brain and kidneys. Very high levels of exposure can cause seizures, coma and death.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that more than 400-thousand children between ages 1-5 years nationwide have elevated blood lead levels. Texas has about 64,000 children with elevated blood levels. Even lower levels of lead exposure have been associated with poor school performance and delinquent behavior.
Sources of lead exposure include chipping paint from older buildings, dust from paint during renovation and water from plumbing pipes. Lead is used in putty around window seals and in paint on metal appliances.
To protect your child from exposure to lead poisoning:
- Do not allow your child to play in soil near old buildings or busy streets
- If you work with lead, shower and change clothes before coming home, and remove shoes before entering your home
- If your home was built before 1978 and you plan construction that might stir up paint dust, have the paint tested before you start
- Clean up chipping and peeling paint inside and outside your home
- Do not let your child chew or suck on anything that has paint on it
- Never use hot tap water for preparing formula, drinking or cooking – hot water dissolves more lead than cold water; and
- Make sure your child has a balanced diet with enough calcium and iron to decrease absorption of any lead the child does ingest Brain damage from exposure to lead is not reversible. Prevention is the key.