There are several sources of lead you should know about. The most common way children are exposed to high levels of lead is through chipping, peeling or cracking lead-based paint in older homes. When lead is found in drinking water, it is usually because water can dissolve the lead in pipes and plumbing. What can you do to protect your family?
Dust and flakes from chipping lead-based paint inside a home are a serious hazard to children's health. Inside your home, use a disposable wet cloth to clean up paint flakes or dust on windowsills, the floor, and on toys. Outside, check for peeling paint near soil and cover those areas with grass or mulch.
If you live in a home with lead pipes or plumbing, run your water if it hasn't been used for several hours. Running your water for three minutes (until it is noticeably colder) brings in fresh water from the city water main. Always use water from the cold water tap for cooking and drinking.
The only way to know if your child has been affected by lead is to get a blood lead test. Have your children tested for lead three times before age 3. The best place for testing is to go to your child's doctor or local clinic.
If your home was built before 1978, it most likely does. Find out how to recognize lead paint and when it may be a hazard here.
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The only way to prevent lead poisoning is to keep children away from lead. But healthy habits like good eating, snacking and hand-washing can help reduce the risk of exposure