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Recognizing the Risk of Lead Toxicity in Children

Recognizing the Risk of Lead Toxicity in Children
Lead toxicity still affects many small children. You may think of lead contamination as a thing of the past, or only a problem for people who live in old houses with peeling paint on the walls. But around 310,000 small children between the ages of 1 and 5 develop lead toxicity each year in the United States and while lead-based paint is still one of the most common causes of high levels of lead in the blood, it’s not the only potential cause. High lead levels can have serious long-term effects, especially on children under age 6.
Lead-based pain has only been banned since the 1978, so if you think your house is safe because it’s not 100 years old or more, you may be wrong. Babies and young children are more prone to poisoning from lead for several reasons:
* Small paint flakes fall to the floor, where young children spend far more time than adults
* Small children are more likely to put everything in their mouths, so they’re more likely to ingest lead dust or small paint chips that have fallen on their toys or the floor.
* Children also have a higher rate of absorption when they do come in contact with lead than adults do.
While you may be aware of the risk of lead paint on the walls, you may not realize how many other potential source of lead your house contains. For example:
* Grandma’s old painted bookshelf or rocker could also be a source of lead paint or dust.
* Toys made overseas have been found to contain high levels of lead, in some cases.
* Pottery glazes can can leach lead into foods.