|When paint flakes are
disturbed during even minor renovations, the home becomes filled
with lead dust. Sweeping or vacuuming can spread the dust to
furniture, toys and food, from which it is readily transferred to
the hands and mouths of infants and toddlers.
excessive levels of lead may cause the following health effects:
Brain damage, stunted growth, kidney damage, hearing impairment,
vomiting, headaches, appetite loss, and learning and behavioral
Can increase blood pressure, can cause digestive problems, kidney
damage, nerve disorders, sleep problems, muscle and joint pain,
and mood changes.
Fetuses, infants, and children are more vulnerable to lead
exposure than adults since lead is more easily absorbed into growing
bodies. Also, the tissues of small children are more sensitive to
the damaging effects of lead.
About 20 percent of the lead children take in comes from water.
Hot water and soft water can leach excessive amounts of lead from
pipes. Therefore, never use the water from the hot tap for cooking
or for mixing drinks or infant formula, and do not soften drinking
water. In general, it is wise to let the cold water run for a few
minutes before using it for cooking or drinking.
Make sure that infant's, toddler's and pre-schooler's hands are
washed often, particularly before handling food. Food and drinks
should never be served, cooked or stored in decorative ceramic
containers or lead-based crystal. Imported pottery is best checked
for lead content before it is used for food. Avoid imported canned
foods; the solder may contain lead. Children can also be exposed to
lead from soil surrounding a home. If soil around the home contains
a lot of lead, remove it or cover the soil with grass or layers of
mulch, or planted with shrubbery to discourage children from playing
in the areas.
If anyone in the household works at a lead-related job or hobby,
protect children from their lead-contaminated clothing and shoes.
Workers should change clothes and shower before returning home.