How to Protect Your Child from Lead Poisoning

by , 04/09/13

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Know the Signs

Although lead poisoning often occurs with few symptoms (at first) it’s still wise to know the signs of lead problems. The CDC notes that lead poisoning is 100% preventable if kids are kept from coming in contact with lead and if parents make sure kids who have been exposed to lead are treated immediately. The signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in young children may include irritability, weight loss, fatigue or general sluggishness, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation and learning difficulties. Babies who are exposed to lead before birth may show signs of learning difficulties and slowed growth. Adults exposed to lead may experience high blood pressure, declines in mental functioning, pain, numbness or tingling of the extremities, muscular weakness, headache, abdominal pain, memory loss, mood disorders, reduced sperm count, abnormal sperm, and miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women. As you can see, many of these symptoms are easily confused with other issues, so if any of these symptoms are present, it’s best to see a doctor. What’s even better is to prevent lead poisoning before it hits your family — especially considering that the worst symptoms usually won’t appear until very dangerous levels of lead have accumulated in the body.

lead contamination, lead in drinks, lead in food, high lead levels, lead poisoning, lead dangers, dangers of lead, lead toxic, toxic lead, lead symptoms, lead in home
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Take a Home Inventory

The EPA and CDC note that the major sources of childhood lead exposure include lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings. The CDC recommends you talk to your local health department about testing for paint and dust in your home if your home was built pre-1978. You should watch your child around the home, especially if you have peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint. One of the reasons young kids are so susceptible to lead poisoning is because they put everything in their mouths and they think chewing on old home windowsills, rails and other areas of the home is super fun. Lead Free Kids has an extensive guide about how to make sure your home is free of lead. They offer tips for home buyers, renters and renovators. Keep in mind that outdoor spaces can contain lead as well. The EPA recommends planting grass on areas of bare soil or covering the soil with grass seed, mulch, or wood chips.

lead contamination, lead in drinks, lead in food, high lead levels, lead poisoning, lead dangers, dangers of lead, lead toxic, toxic lead, lead symptoms, lead in home
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Keep Everything Clean

The simple act of tidying up can reduce your child’s risk of lead poisoning. Cleaning surfaces regularly helps keep lead-based dust at bay. Be sure to keep surfaces, floors and especially home play areas clean, tidy and well dusted and mopped. It’s also wise to store toys on a shelf, instead of on the floor or another home surface, like a windowsill.  The CDC recommends that you regularly wash your child’s hands as little hands can easily become contaminated from household dust or exterior soil, which are both known lead sources.

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One Response to “How to Protect Your Child from Lead Poisoning”

  1. thesmartmama says:

    Keeping clean is great, but for cleaning the house and items, you need to wet wipe/dust. Lead contaminated dust is sticky and heavy, so dry dusting isn’t enough. Also, you need to be sure not to re-contaminate surfaces, so use a new part of the cloth or wipe each time. When it comes to play jewelry, the CPSIA has made significant changes. Children’s products cannot have lead about 100 ppm currently – but adult sized metal jewelry and vinyl jewelry items may still have lead present. Cheap metal jewelry tends to have the most . . . and kids tend to mouth the charms.

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