Know The Facts About Lead Poisoning
Posted on Feb 1st, 2024
No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Below are important facts about lead exposure and its potentially harmful effects:
Lead is toxic, especially in young children. When lead is breathed in or swallowed, it can result in damage to the brain and nervous system, learning and behavior problems, slow growth and development, and hearing and speech problems.
Children younger than six years of age are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure.This is because their bodies are still developing and growing rapidly. Young children also tend to put their hands or other objects, which may be contaminated with lead dust, into their mouths.
Lead can be found inside and outside the home. A common source of exposure is from deteriorated lead-based paint, which was used inside and outside many homes built before 1978 and in other buildings and steel structures, which may be nearby or adjacent to homes.
Lead may also be found in drinking water. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures. Use the Protect Your Tap guide to find out if you have lead pipes in your home.
Lead naturally occurs in soil. In many places across the United States and its territories, the amount of lead in soil is significantly higher than naturally occurring levels due to industrial and human activities.
Lead poisoning is preventable! The key is preventing children from coming into contact with lead.
Some children are at greater risk for lead exposure than others, including those who are:
From families with lower incomes
Living with adults whose jobs or hobbies involve working with lead
Members of certain racial-ethnic minority groups
Recent immigrants, refugees, or international adoptees
Living in poorly maintained homes or apartments built before 1978
Reach out to your healthcare provider for testing if you suspect lead poisoning. K-State University’s Agronomy Department offers soil testing for a fee plus the cost of shipping the sample. Some private labs will test soil for a cost. For more information, see Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program | CDC.