A Guide For Lead Exposure Protection

How to know if you should be worried about lead poisoning and how to test for it.

You may have heard of lead poisoning, children eating paint chips in slum tenements becoming ill and parents bringing major lawsuits against cities, landlords and the like. How worried should you be about lead poisoning? Pediatricians are now routinely testing children for lead levels in their blood: should you ask for a test for your child? What exactly are the symptoms of lead poisoning? Hysteria often precludes facts in many cases, and lead is one of them. Though there is a slight danger of poisoning from lead, there are easy ways to find out if you are at risk and prevent your child from ingesting lead.

Lead is everywhere, it is in our water, our air and soil. We all have a certain amount of lead in our bodies and this alone can not cause damage. Lead levels in the body need to be quite high to indicate danger. Not letting your child eat dirt or paint chips is one way to keep lead out of his body, but the most dangerous form of lead is in dust, which can make its way into the lungs. If you live in a house that was built before 1976, it is a good idea to have your child tested for lead, just to be on the safe side. Just because you have lead paint in your home, it does not mean you are in danger of lead poisoning. Lead paint can be stable and quite safe: if you find lead paint in your home, there are certain kinds of paint that can be placed over it to make it safer. Don't ever try to remove lead based paint yourself. If you want it removed it must be done by a professional. Removing lead dust incorrectly can cover your entire home with lead dust, making it even more dangerous than it was before.

Other sources of lead in your home are leaded crystal, painted pottery and the dirt outside. Make sure to never store food in questionable containers and never store beverages in leaded crystal decanters, especially alcohol. Using good hygiene and frequent hand washings after playing outside can help prevent lead from dirt entering your child's mouth. Have your water tested for lead as well: older pipes can put high levels of lead into your drinking water and should be replaced.



Lead poisoning can cause many health problems to major organs and it can also cause mental retardation, behavioral problems and many more serious and not so serious side affects. One scary problem with lead poisoning is that there really are no medical treatments and it is very difficult to rid the body of the lead once ingested. Having your child tested early is a good way to keep an eye on the levels in his blood, especially if you spend a lot of time in older homes or highly industrial areas.

If your pediatrician does not routinely test for lead, it is up to you to ask. Take your child's health into your own hands and demand a lead test if you think you are at risk. A lead test is as simple as a blood test, the serious complications that can occur from lead poisoning are not easily remedied.

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