Who can get lead poisoning?
Anyone who eats, drinks, or breathes something which has too much lead can get lead poisoning, but children from 6 months to 6 years old are the main victims of lead poisoning.
How does lead affect health?
Sustained exposure to lead can cause long-lasting neurological damage or death. Effects of sustained exposure include learning disabilities, shortened attention span, irritability, and lowered IQ.
Lead can also affect the blood, kidneys, and other parts of the body.As lead poisoning becomes serious, symptoms include stomach aches, loss of appetite, or loss of interest. Some children may also become overly active or fussy and irritable.
What causes lead poisoning?
Lead-based house paint was used in most homes before l950. Lead was still used in some house paints until 1978. Paint on your window frames and on porches is very likely to present a risk for children.
Small children put things in their mouths. They chew on window sills, they eat paint chips, and they suck on their hands. Lead from crumbling paint gets into household dust, and anything that gets dusty (like toys, pets, and fingers) can then become a source of lead poisoning.
Older furniture (cribs, play pens, chairs, etc.) and painted toys may have lead paint.
Old or imported ceramic dishes may be decorated with lead glazes. Food that comes in contact with a lead glaze will pick up some of the lead.
Many children will eat almost anything. Dirt, including soil from flower pots, plaster, ashes, and charcoal all may have lead.