Lead Poisoning Prevention

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Lead is a toxic metal that produces many adverse health effects. Lead poisoning is a disease caused by exposure to and the absorption of lead. It is persistent and cumulative. It does not degrade. Lead poisoning is preventable.

You may be wondering how much lead can cause you to be lead poisoned. Here is an example as how small of an amount it takes to poison you.

Take a penny and break it up into 2 million pieces...now take 2 pieces out of the 2 million... Just those 2 pieces are enough to poison you.

Lead can be found in many products that most parents are unaware of such as toys, jewelry, painted furniture, cosmetics, food or liquid containers, plumbing products, etc.

Sometimes, children are lead poisoned because a parent unknowingly brings lead dust home from their job. Some high risk lead exposure occupations is listed:

  • Auto body repair
  • Battery manufacturing
  • Compounding plastic resins - such as those used to make jewelry
  • Construction/Remodeling
  • Gun firing ranges
  • Lead soldering, electronics, plumbing etc
  • Manufacturing of ammunition and explosives
  • Ceramics
  • Inks, dyes, glazes, paints or pigments
  • Leaded glass or crystal
  • Stained glass windows/lamps
  • Lead fishing weights and lures
  • Plating operations
  • Radiator Repair

Help Reduce Exposing Yourself or Your Children if You Work in Any of the Above Occupations

  • Do not eat, drink or smoke in lead-contaminated work areas
  • Wash your hands before eating, smoking or touching your face after working with lead
  • Wear your protective equipment over your clothing whenever you work with lead
  • Shower, wash your hair and change into clean clothes (including shoes) before leaving the workplace. "Take home lead" can contaminate your vehicle, home and can harm your family
  • Store street clothes in a separate area from your work clothes
  • Eating a well-balanced diet with proper nutrition can

There are two pathways to Lead Exposure

  • Inhalation
  • Ingestion

A person can be lead poisoned without showing signs and symptoms. That is why it is important have a blood lead test done. Some signs may include:

  • Headache
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Muscular weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Numbness or tingling of the extremities
  • Reduced sperm count
  • Miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women
  • Anemia
  • Stomach ache
  • Constipation
  • Seizures
  • Death

A diet low in fat and high in iron and calcium can reduce the lead the body absorbs. This is because a diet that lacks iron, calcium and zinc will cause the body to absorb lead instead of these needed minerals.

How Can You Reduce Lead in the Environment?

  • Wash children's hands after play, before eating and before bed.
  • Wash their toys, pacifiers and other objects they put in their mouths.
  • Use only lead-free ceramics for cooking or storing food. Pottery from foreign countries often contains lead.
  • Feed your child 3 meals a day with foods high in calcium.
  • Use only cold water from the cold water tap for cooking or for making baby formula. Run water from the cold water tap until the temperature changes.( about 1 minutes)
  • Once a week, use detergent or wet wipes to mop floors, window sills, furniture, mini blinds or other surfaces that may contain lead in dust.
  • If your home was built before 1978 test your home for lead before renovating or repairing. NEVER dry sand, dry scrape or sandblast paint.
  • Keep your child away from peeling or chipping paint.
  • Plant shrubs, grass, or other ground cover on bare soil you suspect may contain lead.
  • Recycle spent rechargeable batteries.
  • Cover lead-painted walls and ceilings with plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paneling or lead-free paint.
  • Install vinyl siding over lead paint outdoors. These keep lead paint from chipping and falling into places where children live and play.