Lead poisoning, whether in small or substantial amounts, can both severely affect mental and physical development in children as well as in adults. However, children below the age of 6 years old are known to be more susceptible to encountering a lead based material, or object and becoming contaminated. This fact is supported by the idea of younger children who normally tend to put their hands, or items in their mouth. Lead based paint has been seen to be used when making children’s toys, painting older homes before the ban of lead based paint in 1978, or even from the soil in which we plant our fruits and vegetables to be eaten from. Although to this day many of these products have been recalled, and steps have been taken to cease further production of these chemicals, we are still finding lead in our water system from which we bathe in, drink from, wash our hands, rinse our fruits and vegetables, water our plants, and so on.
Unless medically tested, it may be hard to truly diagnose when one has lead poisoning because the signs and symptoms don’t normally begin to appear until the host has been contaminated with excessive amounts. The silent killer is known as the older homes and complexes that have been previously painted before the ban, and maintained their structure to still be lived in to this day. Paint chips from lead based woodworking, antiques, and furniture are a commonly known tidbit for younger children to consume, and contaminate themselves with once in contact. Imported canned foods from some countries have been known to contain lead solder, although it has been banned in the United states. Toys from other countries, Pigmented beauty and craft painting products, soil that has been in contact with lead based paint/ dust, and even pottery glazed with lead based ceramics can contaminate into the food served within them.
Initially, lead poisoning is far easier to prevent one from coming in contact than to treat once contaminated. Even low exposure can cause damage over time, with brain development being at the biggest irreversible risk. High levels of exposure are known to damage the nervous system, as well as the kidneys in both children, and adults whilst extreme levels of exposure have been recorded to cause seizures, sickness, unconsciousness, toxicity, and even death. Of course, there are multiple things you can do to assist in avoidance with encountering lead and becoming contaminated. Below is a list of a few helpful tips to protect you, or your loved ones as well as your pets from lead exposure.
- Wash your hands regularly, as well as items you and members who enter your household interact with regularly. Such as: Remotes, light switches, door knobs, faucet handles, toys, gadgets, writing utensils, etc.
- Remove your shoes and encourage your visitors to do so as well before entering your home. This ensures that no contaminated soil or dust has been tracked into your home and settled to be contacted.
- In cases of older homes, and buildings be certain to double check the current state of the paint, piping, and woodworking around the home. Ensure there are no chips in the paint, or signs of dust shavings from wear. Solder in the piping should be checked for dangerous levels regularly if possible.
- Water filtration kits are highly encouraged for older homes, and the main southern states where they have a lot of the older structures still in use such as California to be specific. When searching for the correct water filtration kit one must remember to ensure that it is capable of removing such small particles as lead. (Link to helpful guide below) Running cold water for a little over 60 seconds before using running water. Avoid using warm/hot tap water for cooking, or cleaning.
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