Dangers of Childhood Lead Poisoning and How to Prevent It

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have determined that there is no safe level for lead in young children’s blood. Even extremely low levels have been shown to have irreversible, life-long effects on IQ, academic achievement, physical development, and attentiveness.

To prevent lead exposure, the CDC warns that children and pregnant women should not be present when repairs or renovations are underway in housing built before 1978, when lead was banned from paint. That includes any activities that disturb old paint or involve cleaning up dust or debris after such work is completed. It’s also why any work should be done by an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Firm.

But the dangers of lead exist elsewhere, too, and parents, caretakers, and doctors need to be aware of them and take steps to prevent lead exposure before it happens. Here are places where danger lurks and how to avoid it: 

Homes Built Before 1978

Almost all of these homes contain lead-based paint. As the paint wears, its dust contains lead that can be breathed in or ingested. Sanding or scraping the paint also releases dust, and paint chips can be attractive to curious youngsters who may even decide to eat them.

Loose or deteriorating paint should be removed and replaced by an EPA Lead-Safe Certified contractor. Temporary barriers such as contact paper or duct tape can be used to block children’s access. Wet-mop floors and wet-wipe horizontal surfaces every 2-3 weeks. Keep windowsills and wells clean since opening and closing painted sashes is especially likely to leave lead-contaminated dust.

Lead in Plumbing

Some older homes may have water pipes containing lead. The only way to eliminate the hazard is to replace the pipes. In the meantime, you can lower the risks by only using cold water taps for water used for drinking, cooking, and other food preparation since hot water will allow more lead to escape into the water. 

Lead in Toys and Painted Furniture

While U.S. regulations ban lead paints on these items, some imported toys and furniture may escape detection. Stay alert to any recalls, and only buy from reliable sources. Even safe toys can be contaminated with lead from dust, so keep them clean and wash your children’s hands regularly.

Other Dangerous Items

Imports including candles and even some candies can contain lead, as can some folk medicines and home remedies. Again, watch for recalls and know what you’re buying. And if your work involves using lead or lead-based materials—stained glass work or making bullets, for instance—be careful to not bring contaminants into your home on clothing, shoes, or other garments and tools.

If you’re concerned with preventing lead exposure, especially to children under six and pregnant or nursing women, the CDC has many educational resources available, including this easy-to-understand infographic

Use an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Contractor

When it’s time to repair, remodel, or renovate your home, always use an EPA Lead-Safe Certified contractor.

Allstar Electrical Services is proud to be an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Firm and we fully support the education and prevention goals of the EPA, CDC, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Our electricians undergo extensive training on how to identify potential hazards and prevent lead contamination on any work they are called to do.

Don’t risk your family’s health and safety by hiring underqualified contractors. The pros at Allstar Electrical Services offer homeowners, builders and businesses reliable, professional electrical work that is safe and up to code. Call us today at (303) 399-7420!