Young children can be exposed to dangerous lead through contact with paint chips and dust from lead paint in homes.
Lead is a metal that can be found in a variety of environments and can be difficult to identify. Children are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning because they frequently put their hands and things in their mouths,y. Even low levels of lead exposure – 10 micrograms in a decilitre (1/2 cup) of blood – can affect children over time.
What are the effects of lead poisoning in children?
A child’s blood containing too much lead may result in:+
- Decreased muscle and bone growth
- Hearing damage
- Learning deficits
- Nerve and kidney damage
- Muscle weakness
- Speech, language, and behaviour issues
- Brain injury
How to reduce the risks
Simple precautions can be taken to reduce your child’s exposure to lead. Here’s how:
Examine your child’s surroundings
Lead is most likely to be found in homes built before 1978. Lead exposure can be reduced through professional cleaning, correct paint stabilisation processes, and repairs performed by a registered contractor. While lead issues are being handled, make sure to protect your family and belongings. Have a lead inspection performed before purchasing a home. Inquire with the landlord about lead before signing a lease.
Precautions should be taken in the kitchen
Food should be stored in glass, plastic, or stainless steel containers rather than open cans. If you are unsure whether a piece of pottery contains a lead glaze, use it strictly for decoration.
Promote good hygiene
After playing outside or with pets, as well as before eating and sleeping, make sure your youngster washes his or her hands and face. Also, wash children’s toys on a regular basis, as they may become contaminated by soil or household dust.
Ensure your child eats a well-balanced diet
A diet high in iron and calcium may reduce a child’s lead absorption.
Certain children’s items and toys should be avoided
Buy non-brand toys, used toys, and toys from bargain stores or private vendors only if you can be certain that the toys were not made with lead or other toxic elements. Young children should not be given costume jewellery. Check lead recall lists on a regular basis, and keep in mind that commercial lead test kits may not be reliable.
Maintain the cleanliness of your property
Wipe down floors and other surfaces on a regular basis with a moist mop or sponge. After working with lead, take precautions. Keep contaminated clothing in the work area or, if possible, wash your work clothes separately as soon as possible. Also, keep lead-containing items used for hobbies, such as ceramics making, away from children and spaces where they spend time.
Where to get help
If you think your child has been in contact with lead, contact your child’s healthcare provider. He or she can help you decide whether to have your child tested. A blood lead test is the easiest way to find out if your child has been exposed to lead.