You may not think lead exposure is still an issue after all these years, but approximately 4 million households in the United States have children living in them that are being exposed to lead. It is shocking to know that over 1 million children, most under the age of 5, have lead poisoning. This is why it remains so important to identify where lead may be present, recognize the signs of lead poisoning and seek treatment if necessary.
That fixer upper may look charming, but the walls and woodwork may contain lead based paints if the home was built prior to 1978. That’s the year the government stepped in and banned the use of these paints in residential homes. If you have plans to remodel, you should test several areas before you start creating any dust. Home test kits can be purchased, but hiring a professional will give you more accurate readings. If it tests positive and you choose to remodel make sure you do research on keeping the area safe and wear protective gear so dust does not get into your lungs. If possible, keep children away and out of rooms being worked on. Small particles of dust tend to fly everywhere, so make sure you are wiping down surfaces frequently. You can also look into hiring a professional to remove any lead based paints before you start your project.
Kids under 5 are more susceptible to lead poisoning because of their tendency to place things into their mouths. Exposure can lead to damage of the brain and nervous systems, slowed growth, learning problems and hearing & speech issues.
Thankfully, exposure can be 100% preventable if lead is discovered and removed in a timely manner. Besides paint in the home, parents should also be cautious with imported toys, jewelry and candy. Many countries are still unregulated in regards to lead usage and because no amount of lead is considered safe, be careful of where items are purchased from.
Lead poisoning signs in children can often mask as other aliments. Common symptoms include: loss of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, sluggishness and fatigue. Because symptoms can take months or years to appear, if you feel exposure has occurred, a simple blood test can confirm levels and treatment can be recommended.
Learn more about how to prevent lead poisoning and what you can do to keep your family safe at: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/features/leadpoisoning/index.html