Lead is a chemical element that forms a metal that is extremely toxic, especially for young children. Once absorbed into the human body, lead can cause a myriad of undesirable things from behavioral problems, learning impairments, to potential damage towards the brain and vital organs such as the kidneys. It can also have adverse effects on the nervous system and increased blood pressure, can result to seizures, and in some severe cases, death of the individual.
Symptoms of lead poisoning includes headaches, nausea, stomachache, fatigue, and irritable mood. Children may show no symptoms at all yet are actually more at risk to its highly dangerous effects which can permanently affect their health. Lead usually becomes tracked within the home primarily due to deteriorated lead paint that have mixed with household soil or dust, both indoors and outdoors. This is why children are prone to lead poisoning with the likelihood of any of the following taking place:
-Sticks their hands or putting in a lead-contaminated object into their mouths
-Eating chipped lead-based paint that has fallen off from peeling or flaking
-Playing in soil that has been contaminated by lead
What To Do:
Lead poisoning is entirely preventable if you familiarize yourself with the right steps to take for you and your family’s safety and attain the highest quality of life you all deserve. No known level of lead exposure is deemed safe, so it is imperative to know what to do because prevention is always better than cure.
For Homes Built Prior to 1978
1. Regularly mop floors by means of a damp mop, ideally once a week to prevent the accumulation of lead-containing dust.
2. Vacuum carpets and upholstery routinely to eliminate dust. It’s best to get a vacuum that has a HEPA filter or a collection bag that exhibits higher efficiency.
3. Wipe away lead possibly lingering in all flat surfaces like windowsill. Use a damp paper towel then properly dispose of afterwards.
4. Remove your shoes when entering the house, and have family members and guests politely do the same.
5. Gather loose paint chips with caution by utilizing a paper towel to be immediately discarded in the trash. Wipe clean with a paper towel to ensure the surface is rendered free from lead.
6. Make certain lead dust is not circulated during home renovations, remodeling, or home maintenance and makeovers.
7. It is a wise decision to have a lead professional check for hazards within your home, including soil testing, to ensure proper precaution is observed.
To Protect Your Child
1. A child’s blood lead level may be tested as early as 1-2 years of age. Children aged 3-6 years old must undergo a blood test if they have not been previously tested. It becomes even more necessary when a child:
-lives in or regularly visits a home that was built before the year 1950.
-lives in or regularly visits a home built prior to 1978 which has been recently remodeled, renovated, or ongoing maintenance.
-has a brother or sister, or playmate who has recently had lead poisoning
2. Wash your child’s hands frequently to minimize contact with lead from dust, toys, surfaces, or soil. Wash toys as well.
3. Only use cold tap water for cooking and drinking, and baby formula since hot water is more likely to contain higher lead levels.
4. Some kinds of tableware, folk terra cotta plates in particular and bowls coming from Latin America, exhibit greater chances of high lead levels which pose the risk of seeping into food.
5. Be cautious when giving imported candies to your child. Some candy wrappers or sticks possibly contain high levels of the toxic metal, like the tamarindo candy jam products sourced from Mexico found to contain lead.
6. Avoid home remedies like arzacon, litargirio, greta, and pay-loo-ah, which have been discovered to contain lead and can be poisonous, doing more harm than good.
7. Refrain from using cosmetics such as kohl or alkohl which may be prevalent causes of lead poisoning.