Lead poisoning has been around for a long time. The effect of lead poisoning depends on the amount of lead in your child’s blood. At lower levels, lead poisoning can cause a loss of IQ Points, as well as behavioral, learning, and attention problems. At higher levels, lead poisoning can cause headaches, stomachaches, vomiting, confusion, hair loss, and low blood counts.
The risk of lead poisoning is much lower now than before because we no longer use lead-containing fuels or paints. There are many countries that do not have as stringent guidelines as the U.S., and products may enter our country containing lead. Be alert for any product recalls by routinely checking with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Who Is At Risk?
- There is a greater risk for children who live in, or regularly visit, a home built before 1960 – especially those undergoing renovations.
- There is a greater risk for those children with family members who have hobbies or jobs involving exposure to lead.
- There is also a greater risk for those children living near an active lead smelter, battery recycling plant, or any other industry likely to release lead.
What Can You Do?
- You can help prevent lead toxicity by having your child tested for lead at ages 1 and 2 (we routinely do this in our office at the 1 and 2-year-old well visits).
- You can check for peeling paint, and test all paint, in homes and apartments that were built before 1978.
- If you are remodeling a home or apartment in an old home, seal off the room that is having the work done.
- In neighborhoods where older homes are being remodeled or renovated, have your children wipe their feet and remove their shoes before entering your home to prevent tracking lead infested dirt through your home.
- Lastly, always wash yours and your child’s hands and face before meals.