Lead is a naturally occurring metal that is toxic to humans if it enters the body. Lead can get into our bodies when we breathe, swallow or suck something that has lead in it or on it. It is then stored in our bones, blood and tissues.
Infants and young children under 3 years old are typically at higher risk to exposure and health effects because:
·They spend the majority of their time on the floor or ground
· They are teething and tend to put everything in their mouths
· They are undergoing rapid growth and brain development
No amount of lead in the body is considered safe. Lead poisoning usually happens when a child is around small amounts of lead for a long time, but lead poisoning can happen quickly if something with lead is swallowed, such as a toy or paint chip. Lead can affect the whole body and can harm young children and babies even before they are born.
Extremely high blood lead levels can cause severe brain damage and/or death. Lower blood lead levels can cause developmental delays, speech, hearing, behavior and learning difficulties, digestive problems and slowed growth. Lead poisoning can be hard to detect as signs and symptoms often do not appear until dangerous amounts have accumulated.
THE GOOD NEWS: LEAD POISONING IS 100% PREVENTABLE
Take these steps to make your home lead-safe:
1. Get the Facts
Prevent Childhood Lead Poisoning From Lead-Based Paint (childcare facilities)
2. Get Your Child Tested
A simple blood test can detect lead. Children’s blood lead levels tend to increase from 6 to 12 months of age, and tend to peak at age 18 to 24 months of age.
Blood lead tests are usually recommended for children at ages 12 and 24 months (and required at these ages for children who receive Medicaid). Children or other family members who have been exposed to high levels of lead should be tested. Ask your healthcare provider to explain the blood lead test results.
3. Get Your Home Tested
If your home was built before 1978 there may be lead-based paint in your home. When the paint peels or cracks it creates lead dust.
If your home was built before 1986 there may be lead-containing pipes, fixtures or solder in plumbing materials that could contaminate drinking water.
Renovation or demolition of these homes can create lead dust.
OTHER RELATED RESOURCES
LINKS TO STATE AND NATIONAL WEBSITES FOR LEAD INFORMATION: