Lead is a naturally occurring element used in batteries, solder, ammunition, pipes, and some roofing materials. In the past, lead was used in paint and gasoline. Lead is no longer in paint or gasoline because scientists realized that exposure to lead poses some serious health risks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no safe level of lead in the body. Children absorb lead more readily than adults, and even the smallest amount of lead can lead to learning disorders. At higher levels, lead can damage kidneys and nervous system, and high levels of exposure may cause mental retardation, coma, convulsions, and death.
Dust from older homes that once had lead-based paint is the most common source of exposure to lead. Place air purifiers in your home to eliminate this dust.
If you remodel an older home, be sure to wear a dust mask and run an air purifier. You may want to seal off other parts of the home and keep children away while you’re working. Clean up all dust thoroughly; first clean with a wet rag or map, and then with a HEPA vacuum. Take a shower when you’re finished.
Over the past few years, various children’s toys manufactured in China have been found to contain lead paint. To be safe, buy toys made in the USA – or better yet, opt for toys made from all-natural materials.
Never let children chew on paint chips, dirt, or keys. (Keys may contains small amounts of lead.) Do not eat canned foods imported from other counties, as they may contain lead.
If your home was built before the 1980s, the water pipes likely contain lead. Lead may also be present in well water. Use a water purifier to remove lead from your water. If you do not have a water purifier, never use hot water for cooking (because it carries lead more easily), and let cold water run for a minute before use.
Don’t lead your children play near major roadways because the soil likely contains lead. Make sure your children wash their hands after playing outdoors.