Protecting children from lead exposure is important to lifelong good health
Childhood lead poisoning is caused by swallowing or breathing in lead dust. Lead poisoning can hurt a child’s brain and nervous system and slow down their growth and development. A child who has too much lead in their body may have problems with learning and behaving well and those effects can last into adulthood. There is no safe amount of lead in a child’s blood. According to the CDC, most U.S. children who are 1 through 5 years of age have lead levels less than 5 ug/dL (micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood). If a child’s level is 5 or more, it is time to develop a plan to lower their exposure to lead. In Lincoln County approximately 350 children are tested each year for lead and 1 in 50 children tested have levels at 5 or greater.
Children under 6 are at the most risk for lead poisoning. According to Sue Kuber, Lincoln County Health Department Nurse, “The good news is that lead poisoning is preventable. It is important to test your home, have your child tested and learn about how to prevent lead poisoning.”
U.S. children are exposed to lead in lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in deteriorating buildings. They can also be exposed from other sources such as water pipes that may contain lead, toys and toy jewelry and from caregivers that have certain jobs or hobbies that involve working with lead.
Parents can reduce a child’s exposure to lead in many ways. Here are some simple things you can do to help protect your family:
1. Get your Home Tested. Before you buy an older home, ask for a lead inspection.
2. Remodeling your Home? Renovate right with lead-safe work practices or use a lead-safe certified contractor.
3. Get your Child Tested. Even if your young child seems healthy, ask your doctor to test them for lead with a simple blood test. It is the only way to tell if your child is poisoned.
4. Wash your child’s hands before bed, at mealtimes and in between.
4. Get the Facts! Lincoln County Health Department can provide helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning. Contact them at 715-536-0307, visit http://lincolncountyhealthdepartment.com or check out the National Center for Healthy Housing at www.ncchh.org.
To learn about steps you can take to remove lead from your home, visit the Lead-Safe Wisconsin website at www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/lead or call the National Lead Information Hotline at 800-424-LEAD (5323).