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LEAD POISONING

Lead Paint Poisoning: Has Your Child Been Poisoned?

 

Lead poisoning poses perhaps one of the greatest threats to our children. The greatest risk of injury from lead poisoning is to children under the age of seven, whose developing bodies and brains are sensitive to even small amounts of lead. Such exposure may lead to irreversible injury that does not appear until many years after the exposure to lead. The most common cause of lead poisoning in children is deteriorating (chipping and peeling) lead-based paint on the exterior and interior of residences where the child lives. Typically, your child will ingest the lead-based paint in the form of paint chips that have peeled off the wall (they are sweet to the taste) or by ingesting lead-contaminated paint dust (which can be ingested by children during normal teething, hand-mouth behavior, or putting dusty items in their mouths).

What to do if you suspect the paint in your apartment has lead (and you have a child under the age of 7 living with you)

  1. Make sure your child receives a blood-lead test at each pediatric check-up at least until age 7
  2. Obtain immediate emergency care for any child who exhibits the following symptoms:
    • sluggish behavior apathy
    • headaches
    • staring periods
    • tremors
    • seizures
    • loss of consciousness
    • abdominal cramps
    • loss of appetite
    • constipation
    • irritability
    • hyperactive behavioral
  3. Assume that paint in housing built before 1978 contains lead
  4. Call the local department of health and insist on a lead-based paint inspection
  5. Insist that the landlord maintain paint properly by removing deteriorating paint and repainting with two coats of non-leaded paint
  6. Frequently mop all floors and wipe down all surfaces with high-phosphate detergents
  7. Ensure that your children wash their hands frequently
  8. Wash you children’s toys frequently to ensure that lead-contaminated dust does not settle on them
  9. Discourage your children from putting their hands and toys in their mouths and ask for help from your pediatrician and your local department of health