About Lead Poisoning
It’s old, but it’s not
Consider the primary source of lead poisoning: most buildings (schools, apartments, houses) built before 1978 likely have lead paint. In addition, lead can be found in soil (from leaded gasoline emissions, paint dust, and around industrial processes), drinking water (through lead solder and piping), the air (emitted by industrial sources and leaded aviation fuel) and, most surprising, in imported goods including toys, vinyl window blinds, jewelry, furniture, artificial plants and trees – anything manufactured with lead-based paint/products.
How are people exposed
Outside the home, soil can be contaminated by industrial sources, deterioration of exterior lead paint on buildings or a natural high level of lead. Lead is in the air and soil around airports, ore and mining facilities and other industrial sources – even factories closed for decades.
Lead does not decay or decompose, so it is around forever.
What are the effects of
It is important to note that often children don’t show symptoms of lead poisoning, or they may be mistaken for those of common illnesses like a cold or flu. The best way to detect lead poisoning is to get a blood test from your pediatrician.
Pregnant Women – When exposed to lead over time, it is naturally stored in our bones along with calcium; when calcium is released from a pregnant woman’s bones, lead is also released and can expose the developing fetus. Elevated levels of lead in the blood of pregnant women can result in reduced fetal growth, lower birth weight, and possibly in preterm birth.
Adults – Adults can suffer from hearing and vision impairment, reproductive problems (in men and women), renal dysfunction, high blood pressure and hypertension, nerve disorders and memory and concentration problems.
How can I prevent lead
There are many ways parents can reduce a child’s exposure to lead. Lead hazards in a child’s environment must be identified and controlled or removed safely. Talk to your doctor or local health department about how to control and remove sources of lead safely.
Ensuring children have good nutrition is another way to help them combat the effects of lead. Parents should ensure their children eat healthy, low-fat foods high in iron, calcium and Vitamin C.
to you by the National Minority Quality Forum with support from Magellan
a founding subscriber to the Lead Risk Index.
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