Childhood Lead Poisoning
Childhood lead poisoning is a preventable environmental health problem in the United States.
About a million children in the United States have blood lead levels of at least 10 micrograms per deciliter (ug/dl), a level high enough to adversely affect their intelligence, behavior and development. It is advised that parents who have at-risk children under the age of six have their child's blood tested for lead exposure at their pediatrician's office.
Lead-based paint is the most common lead poisoning hazard and is often found in older homes. It can flake and generate dust that children can ingest through hand-to-mouth activity. Buildings constructed prior to 1978 could contain lead-based paint.
Renovation work to repair non-intact lead paint should be performed by a certified lead renovator. Other common sources of lead exposure include:
- Bullets and batteries
- Herbs and spices that were grown in lead contaminated soils
- Lead glaze in some ceramic containers, cookware, and tableware
- Old water pipes
- Some candies imported for Mexico and Asia
- Some imported cosmetics
- Some toys and toy jewelry
- Vinyl mini blinds sold before 1997
Childhood lead exposure is generally discovered during routine testing. If a child’s standard blood work reveals lead exposure or lead poisoning, the medical provider will report the findings to the appropriate authorities and a team will be assigned to help the family investigate the lead exposure.
That team includes Environmental Health Specialists, who perform inspections and tests to identify sources of lead and offer abatement solutions in the home.
Haywood County Health and Human Services Agency is an equal opportunity employer and provider.