Protect Your Children By Following These Preventive Do’s and Don’ts
Spread the Word – National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is October 25th – 31th
Although lead poisoning is the #1 preventable disease in U.S. children, every year, over 500,000 children between the ages of 1 -5 are diagnosed with lead poisoning. Incredibly, this figure does not include the number of children between the ages of six and eighteen that already suffer from lead poisoning. In addition, many other children have not yet been diagnosed. About 3.6 million American households have children under 6
years of age who live in homes with lead exposure hazards.
This may be hard to believe, but bad drivers, holiday returns, and annoying co-workers that get on your last nerve may not be the final straw in pushing you over the edge – it may be that you have lead poisoning.
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, poor muscle 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?”
Did you know that lead dust is more dangerous than lead paint itself? According to the Center for Disease Control, a speck of lead dust, equal to a grain of sand, is enough to poison a child. Lead dust is the most common form of lead poisoning. If you do have lead in your home, you will need a lead abatement plan.
The only way to know, however, is to have lead testing done.
What is Lead Dust?
Lead dust forms when lead paint is chipped away or sanded. Most houses built before 1978, when it was banned, contain lead paint. Contrary to what most people think, a child doesn’t have to eat paint chips to get lead poisoning. Microscopic lead dust can be released into the air by simply raising and lowering a window painted with lead paint. The friction between the painted window sash and the painted window frame grinds the paint and generates toxic lead-containing dust. Lead dust is invisible, travels through the air, and is very harmful when inhaled.
Every year, over 500,000 children under the age of six get lead poisoning. Pregnant woman and pets are also in high-risk groups. Lead poisoning causes brain damage, lower IQ, ADD, headaches, reduced neonatal weight, damage to the brain and nervous system, behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, headaches, and sometime seizures, coma and even death.
Before doing any work in your home, have a certified lead inspector conduct a lead test to see if you are at risk. When hiring renovators or contractors, be sure that they are EPA certified in RRP (Renovation, Repair and Painting) and provide a lead-safe work practice. Also, when cleaning lead dust on your own, be sure to follow the proper precautions.