Lead-based paint has been a concern in homes for decades, if you home was built after the late 70’s you can probably safely bet there is none in your home, but with a handful of manufacturer’s toys testing positive now, I thought it helpful to share some of the EPA’s information on the topic.
The National Lead Information Center is 1-800-LEAD-FYI to learn how to protest children from lead poisoning. EPA’s safe drinking water hot-line is 1-800-426-4791.
If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from: Damage to the brain and nervous system, behavior and learning problems (such as hyper activity), slowed growth, hearing problems, headaches. Harmful to adults also, it can cause: difficulties during pregnancy, other reproductive problems in women and men, high blood pressure, digestive problems, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems, muscle and joint pain.
Where is lead likely to be a hazard in your home? Paint that is in good condition is usually not a hazard, however areas that sustain more wear and tear, like porch railings, windows and window sills, doors and door frames, stairs, railings and banisters, and porches and fences can have chipping and loose paint. Lead dust can accumulate when lead-based paint is dry scraped, dry sanded or heated (like with a paint removing heat gun). Dust also forms when painted surfaces rub together.
Test your home for lead, a professional can do so or you can pick up an inexpensive kit at a home improvement store. . .but the EPA suggests that they are not always as accurate as a professional inspector.
What can you do if you have lead in your home? Clean up chips and paint splinters immediately. Clean floors, window frames, window sills and other surfaces weekly with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner, thoroughly rinsing sponges or mops afterwards. Wash children’s hands often (not with hand sanitizer) especially before and after eating as well as before and after playing with painted toys. Make sure your children eat nutritious, low-fat meals high in iron and calcium such as spinach and low-fat dairy products. Children with good diets absorb less lead.
If lead is a concern of yours, please learn more about the subject at http://www.epa.gov/lead for the most current information. My information came from an EPA publication in 1995, but with Christmas toys suspect this year, I thought still helpful information to pass along but I can only cover so much information in this arena.
Here’s to a clean and safe, happy, home!