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Tips to Prevent Lead Exposure in Children

Tips to Prevent Lead Exposure in Children

toys on a table

Lead poisoning is a serious health risk, and it's more common than you think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 4 million families with children living in them are exposed to lead. In the United States, there are nearly half a million children ages 1 to 5 with blood lead levels above the reference level at which the CDC recommends starting public health action.

Fortunately, lead exposure can be prevented. You should be extra careful with children under 6 years old; They are more likely to come into contact with objects contaminated with lead while they are playing and exploring the world around them. If you think your family has been exposed to this household poison, your doctor can do a simple test to check. In the meantime, here are some tips for keeping your home safe.

Check your home for lead

According to the CDC, approximately 24 million housing units have elevated levels of lead-contaminated house dust. Especially if your home was built prior to 1978, it may contain lead paint or other sources of lead, including plumbing pipes. If possible, replace the lead paint, and store your belongings during the process.

Old windows and balconies – especially with peeling paint chips that kids can eat – dirt next to old homes and bare soil can all contain lead. If your children come into contact with these sources of lead, be sure to wash their hands.

Wash your children's hands and toys

Many toys and other items made of vinyl or plastic – such as backpacks, lunch boxes, bibs or car seats – May contain lead. Stick to reputable brands and avoid buying old toys, imported toys, and toys that are made on the cheap.

Encourage your child to bathe frequently, including after playing outdoors. Wash children's toys often, and regularly wipe floors and other surfaces in the house with a damp mop or sponge.

Avoid drinking water contaminated with lead

Tap water can contain a high level of lead. Consider testing for lead in water. A list of approved laboratories is available from your state's drinking water authority or local drinking water authority.

Store food in lead-free containers

Do not store food in open containers. Use glass, plastic, or stainless steel instead. Unless you're sure the pottery is lead-free, use it only for decoration and not for serving.

Clean Lead Contaminated

If you have to work with lead, take a shower immediately, and either wash your contaminated clothing alone or keep it in your work area. Keep anything that contains lead, such as materials used to make ceramics, out of the reach of children.

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