Lead Poisoning questions
What is lead poisoning?
Who is at risk?
What are the effects?
How do I know if my child has lead poisoning?
What are the primary sources of lead exposure?
How are children exposed?
How can lead exposure be prevented?
What services does the Health Department provide for children with lead poisoning?
WHAT IS LEAD POISONING?
Lead can produce adverse effects on virtually every system in the body, kidneys, nervous system and reproductive system, and cause high blood pressure. Very high blood lead levels can cause seizures, coma and death.
WHO IS AT RISK?
- Children 6 years old and under are most at risk, because their bodies are growing quickly.
- Children from all social and economic strata can be affected.
- Children living in older, poorly maintained homes or older, improperly renovated or remodeled homes have an increased risk.
- Children regularly exposed to lead and have a diet low in calcium and iron have an increased risk.
- Slowed physical development
- Learning or behavior problems
- Lowered intellect or IQ
- Hearing loss
- Brain, liver and kidney damage
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD HAS LEAD POISONING?
Unless the blood-lead levels are very high, most children do not show outward signs. If you suspect your child has had repeated exposure to products containing lead or lead contaminated dust and dirt, the only way to know is to have a blood test.
WHAT IS THE PRIMARY SOURCES OF LEAD EXPOSURE?
- Deteriorating lead-based paint
- Lead contaminated dust
- Lead contaminated residential soil
- Imported cosmetics,spices,food,toys
- Homeopathic's and home remedies
- Imported or antique ceramics,pottery and dinnerware
- Absorption from imported cosmetics.
- Inhalation of dusts and vapors that contain lead.
- Ingestion of lead dust on their hands from lead paint, toys and contaminated dirt. As well as imported cosmetics, spices, food, homeopathic's and home remedies. Children may absorb 30% to 75% of ingested lead in their digestive tract.
Find and remove the sources of lead in your
- Check and remove peeling paint and chips from the home.
- Children should not be present when scraping or cleaning up paint chips.
- Dust should be kept to a minimum by damp mopping floors and using wet cloths to clean walls,window sills and other painted surfaces.
- Discourage children from playing in bare soil that may contain lead.
Eat a good diet:
- Provide meals high in calcium and iron.
- Avoid fatty foods.
Hand washing routine. Hand washing is important
because children may absorb 30% to 75% of ingested lead in their
digestive tract and up to 50% of lead may be absorbed through the
lungs. Hands should be washed:
- Before meals.
- After playing outside or on the floor.
- Additional steps can be taken to create a lead-free environment.
WHAT SERVICES DOES THE HEALTH
DEPARTMENT PROVIDE FOR CHILDREN WITH LEAD POISONING?
The Fairfax County Health Department educates household members about reducing lead exposure when a report is received of a child with an elevated blood lead level. When the blood lead level in children 72 months (6 years) and younger is a level considered lead poisoned a multi-disciplinary team conducts an Elevated Blood Lead Level Environmental Investigation.