1978 may seem like a long time ago, but the lead that was used in paints is still a cause for concern as it is harmful to babies and adults. A recent report states that 1 in 40 children have blood levels that are considered unsafe. We want to make sure all families stay healthy by understanding where lead can be found and how to take measures to keep everyone safe.
Recognize Where Lead Can Be Hiding
Laws were passed in 1978 to prevent lead from being added to paints and other items, but lead based materials are still present in older homes. Any type of remodeling project that involves the removal of paint or sanding to older woodwork can unleash the harmful substance in the air and onto surfaces. If you are considering a project on an older home, it would be wise to test a few areas to see if lead is present. Kits can be purchased at home stores, but a professional company will get you a more accurate result. If lead is detected, having a business that deals with lead removal is the best approach. You could continue on your own, but make sure you have done the research on how to do it properly. Keeping your family safe and healthy is the priority.
Recently, lead has been detected in many products that are purchased internationally. Many items, such as cosmetics, pottery, candy, jewelry and spices, are unable to be regulated for the presence of lead from other countries. Do some research before purchasing imported products or try to buy from a business you trust.
Although not a common source, lead can be found in some drinking water. Water distribution lines and older pipes can contain small amounts of lead. There are test kits that can help you determine if high levels of lead are present. Using a home water filtration system or a water filtering pitcher can effectively remove it.
Recognize the Symptoms of Lead Poisoning
Symptoms of lead poisoning can be difficult to spot. Mainly because many of them can look like a child/adult has a cold, flu or other virus. The other concern is once some of the more serious symptoms appear, it is because levels in the blood are already very high.
In children you may see: constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss, irritability and fatigue. More serious signs would include: vomiting, hearing loss, seizures and learning difficulties. Testing should be done if you live in an older home. A simple blood test can reveal dangerous levels and treatment can be suggested.
Adults may experience high blood pressure, joint & muscle pain, headaches, abdominal pain and mood disorders. Again a simple blood test can determine if lead is present.
Thankfully, if caught early, treatments are available and effective.
Stay informed and educated with these additional resources.