Lead poisoning is one of the most preventable environmental health problems in young children. High levels of lead can harm the brain, interfere with growth, cause learning difficulties, and may cause death.
Sources of Lead
Children can be exposed to lead from any of the sources below. Children are at higher risk of lead exposure if they frequent older homes that contain lead in pipes, mini-blinds, or that have chipping and peeling paint.
Possible sources of lead are:
- Soil and dust
- Tap water
- Glazed pottery
- Electrical cords
- Garden hoses
- Lead-based paint
- Imported canned foods
- Metal jewelry
- Outside water faucets
Signs & Symptoms
Lead poisoning may occur without any signs or symptoms.
It can take a long time for symptoms of lead poisoning to appear. Your child may be at risk long before you see any effects. Some signs to look for are:
- Learning problems
- Growth failure
- Behavior disorder
- Unexplained seizures
- Developmental delay
- Hearing loss
- Frequent tiredness
Lead Risk Reduction
- Keep your child from eating paint chips, dust or dirt. Keep children away from window sills, steps and porches in old homes.
- If you rent, notify your landlord of peeling or chipping paint.
- Have your home checked for lead before you remodel. Do not scrape or sand lead-based paint.
- Clean floors, window frames, window sills and other surfaces weekly. Use a mop, sponge, or paper towel with warm water and an all-purpose cleaner. Discard sponge after use.
- Wash children's hands often, especially before eating and after playing outside.
- Wash your child's toys, pacifiers and bottles often.
- Clean or remove shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in lead dust.
- Make sure children get a diet high in iron, calcium, and vitamin C and frequent meals throughout the day.
Lead Prevention Resources
- National Lead Information Center: 1-800-424-LEAD
To learn more about the risks of lead or to arrange a lead screening, contact your primary care provider or call the Mississippi Lead Poisoning Prevention and Healthy Homes Program at (601) 576-7447.
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