Lead is a poisonous, highly toxic metal that can cause a range of health problems, from brain damage to damage to the kidneys and other organs. It can cause behavioral and neurological issues to those who have been exposed to its harmful effects.
Although using lead in most materials is a thing of the past, there are still traces that can cause harm to anyone who is exposed to it. To help you protect your family, we’ve compiled a list of seven easy things you can do to keep those you care about safe from lead poisoning.
Lead In The Home
Your home is where you are meant to feel safe. It’s your haven from the outside world. But for those living in homes built before 1978, there may still be remnants of lead in the walls, soil and even the dust floating around your house. Though harmful to everyone, lead exposure is most harmful to children under the age of six.
Paint On The Walls
If you live in a pre-1978 built home, there may be traces of lead paint underneath the newer coats of paint on your walls. Make sure the walls are kept in good condition and that it is not allowed to peel, chip, bubble, or crack. As long as the paint is not disturbed, any traces of lead paint will remain safely covered.
Keep Areas Dust Free
By regularly cleaning floors, windowsills, and other surfaces, you can prevent dust from settling that may contain trace amounts of lead. Frequently vacuuming carpeted areas and wiping down other surfaces will avoid the possibility of either breathing in the toxins or transferring them through touch.
When it’s time to remodel your home, the most effective way to make sure it is done safely and correctly, is to hire only EPA-or state-approved Lead–Safe certified renovation firms. These contractors or firms will follow safety guidelines to ensure that toxins either remain undisturbed or are safely disposed of.
Know Your Rights
Before buying or renting a home or apartment, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Has the owner, real estate officer, or leasing office disclosed the presence of lead-based paint? Has it been encapsulated? Hire an inspector to check out the home and give you an unbiased opinion on the presence of lead or any other dangerous or toxic materials that may or may not be present.
Have Your Family Tested
If anyone in your family regularly spends time in a home, building, or facility that was built before 1978, periodically have them tested for lead levels in the blood. Children who have never been tested before or who have a sibling or playmate that has had lead poisoning should also be checked as a precautionary measure. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Test Your Water
Paint is not the only material that used lead. Prior to 1986, pipes and fixtures were manufactured using lead. If those pipes are no longer in good shape and are in the process of corroding, traces of lead can still enter the water supply in your home. The EPA states that even trace amounts of lead in water can be harmful to your family’s health.
Do Your Research
Although lead is no longer legal to use in the United States, some of the everyday items we buy in the stores may still have small traces. Such things as cosmetics products may contain small amounts of lead. The wrappers or sticks used to package Tamarindo candy products from Mexico may also contain small amounts of lead.
We hope this guide will help you take the necessary precautions to keep your family safe from any potential risks associated with lead poisoning. Understanding where it may be hiding and how to avoid it is key to prevention.