Lead Poisoning Prevention

Lead is a toxic metal used in many trades and hobbies in the United States. Most adult lead exposures are due to their work or hobby. Lead poisoning happens when small amounts of lead build up in the body. People can breathe in lead dust or fumes or swallow dust while eating, drinking, or smoking. This can cause serious health problems. Lead can especially harm children’s health.

Lead exposure can harm several parts of the body, including the brain and nervous system. In children, too much lead in the body can cause developmental, behavioral, and health problems. Even low levels of lead have been shown to change a child’s school performance, ability to pay attention, and IQ. Exposure during pregnancy can increase the risk for the baby being born too early or with a low birth weight.

You can be exposed through contact with paint chips and dust from lead paint in older homes. Other sources could be soil, a parent’s job or hobby, or some water pipes. Some products also can have lead, such as imported food and spices, cookware, traditional medicines, toys, and jewelry.

The harmful effects of childhood lead exposure can be prevented. Do not allow your child to eat paint chips, eat soil, or chew on painted surfaces. Keep children away from spaces with chipping and peeling paint. Wash hands with soap and water often, especially before eating. Keep surfaces and toys clean.

Children and pregnant women should stay away from repairs that disturb old paint until the area is cleaned. Make sure any renovation workers are trained in and use lead-safe work practices. If working with lead, change work clothes and wash face, hands and bare skin before going home. Avoid using products that could have lead. A balanced diet with foods that provide calcium, iron, and Vitamin C may help keep lead out of the body.

Children under 6 years of age are at greatest risk for health problems caused by lead exposure because of their small size and developing brains. Young children are at higher risk of lead exposure if they live in older homes, have parents who work with lead, or live near a lead industrial pollution site.

Talk to your child’s doctor about testing for lead poisoning. A blood lead test is the best way to find out if a child has been exposed to lead.

For more information on this topic, go to  https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/default.htm or https://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Lead.aspx

For questions or to learn more, call Four Corners at 402-362-2621 or 877-337-3573 or email us at info@fourcorners.ne.gov