When it comes to our health and our homes, there are things we can control and things we can’t. For the sake of positivity, let’s focus on the former during National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW), which began Oct. 23 and ends Oct. 29.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 250,000 U.S. children have elevated blood-lead levels, and a blood test can prevent permanent damage. The CDC recommends screening children younger than 6 years of age (preferably by the age of 1 and 2).
Should you be concerned? Most U.S. children who suffer from lead poisoning have been exposed to lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust. Lead-based paints were banned in housing in 1978, which means houses built before 1978 are likely to contain some lead-based paint. It is the deterioration of this paint that you should be worried about. An estimated 24 million housing units have deteriorated leaded paint and lead-contaminated house dust, according to the CDC.
This week, in honor of NLPPW, many states and communities are offering free blood-lead testing and education and awareness events. For more information about events in your area, contact your state or local health department here.
In addition, there are steps you can take to keep your kids lead-free:
• Contact your health department about testing home paint and dust for lead;
• If you plan on remodeling your home, talk to your contractor about lead-safe work practices;
• Hire a certified inspector to check for lead hazards in older homes. Click on your state to find an inspector;
• Before you buy an older home, request a lead inspection;
• Keep the children’s play area as dust-free and clean as possible;
• Report chipped or cracked paint to your landlord if you live in a home built before 1978; and
• Prevent your children from chewing on painted surfaces, including toys or window sills.
Click here for more information.