Why Do You Need to Be Concerned About Lead?
Lead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes. Lead also can be emitted into the air from industrial sources and leaded aviation gasoline, and lead can enter drinking water from plumbing materials. Lead may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children six years old and under are most at risk.
Most Common Sources of Lead Poisoning:
Health Effects of Lead
Childhood lead poisoning remains a major environmental health problem in the United States.
People can get lead in their body if they:
Lead is more dangerous to children because:
If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:
Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults can suffer from:
Facts about Lead
FACT: Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even before they are born.
FACT: Even children who seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies.
FACT: You can get lead in your body by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips containing lead.
FACT: You have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most cases, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not a hazard.
FACT: Removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the danger to your family.
If you think your home might have lead hazards, read on to learn about lead and some simple steps to protect your family.
Ten Tips to Protect Children from Chemical and Lead Poisoning
These simple steps can help you save children from environmental hazards around the home:
Where lead is found
In general, the older your home, the more likely it has lead-based paint.
Where lead is likely to be a hazard
Lead from paint chips, which you can see, and lead dust, which you can't always see, can be serious hazards.
Windows and window sills.
Doors and door frames.
Stairs, railings, and banisters.
Porches and fences.
How to check your family and home for lead
Just knowing that a home has lead-based paint may not tell you if there is a hazard.
To reduce your child's exposure to lead, get your child checked, have your home tested (especially if your home has paint in poor condition and was built before 1978), and fix any hazards you may have.
Children at ages one and two.
Children and other family members who have been exposed to high levels of lead.
Children who should be tested under your state or local health screening plan.
Note: Home test kits for lead are available, but studies suggest that they are not always accurate. Consumers should not rely on these tests before doing renovations or to assure safety.
What you can do to protect your family
If you suspect that your house has lead hazards, you can take some immediate steps to reduce your family's risk:
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