Adults often downplay the harmful effect of exposing children to lead in the home, especially those adults who grew up in a home or apartment built before 1978, the year lead paint was banned from residential use in the United States. They say: “Look at me. I’m fine. And I grew up when paint always contained lead.”
We hope they are fine, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of lead poisoning often occur with no obvious symptoms, which means lead poisoning frequently goes unrecognized and undiagnosed.
Researchers say that lead, when ingested, attacks every system in the body, with the brain and nervous system the most susceptible. The child suffers from loss of IQ, learning disabilities, ADD, ADHA, tendency toward violence, hearing loss, slowed growth, poormuscle coordination, decreased muscle and bone growth, speech and language problems. So consider the kids who grew up in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, who not only lived in a leaded paint world but breathed in fumes from leaded gas.
Ask yourself: Do you know any adults who can’t sit still or have problems focusing? Do any of your friends or co-workers anger easily? Remember, lead poisoning often is unrecognized and undiagnosed. According to Sherlita Amler, M.D., Commissioner of Health for Westchester County, N.Y.: “The affects of lead poisoning are irreparable and irreversible.” The damage lead poisoning does early in life stays with you forever.
So if people tell you, “Lead paint didn’t hurt me,” look them in the eye and ask them, “Are you sure?”