Despite laws established in the 1970s to make
       people aware of the dangers of lead and its
  poisonous effects, lead poisoning in children
  remains a common, yet preventable, environmental
  health problem in the United States. By under-
  standing, identifying, and safely removing sources
  of lead, we can ensure the long-term health of
  children and prevent its devastating
  and irreversible effects.

  What  is lead poisoning?
    Lead is a toxic metal used in a variety of products and materials,
  including paint, vinyl mini-blinds, pipes, leaded crystal, dishware, and
  pottery coatings. When lead is absorbed into the body it can cause serious
  damage to vital organs like the brain, kidneys, nerves, and blood cells.
  Lead poisoning is especially harmful to children under the age of six.

  What  are the  health effects of lead
  poisoning  in children?
    Lead interferes with the development and functioning of almost all body
  organs, particularly the kidneys, red blood cells, and central nervous system.

    Lead poisoning is much more serious when children are exposed to
  lead. Since their bodies are not fully developed, lead poisoning can cause:

   > Brain, liver, and  kidney damage;
   > Slowed development;
   - Learning or behavior problems;
   > Lowered intellect (or IQ);
   ': Hearing loss; and
   ': Restlessness.
                                           What  You  Need To Know
                                           About   Lead
                      What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?
                        Most children with lead poisoning do not show any outward symptoms
                      unless blood-lead levels become extremely high; consequently, many
                      cases of children with lead poisoning go undiagnosed and untreated.
                      However, some symtoms of poisoning include:
                      - Headaches;
                      > Stomachaches;
                      - Nausea;
                      > Tiredness; and
                      > Irritability.
                        Because the symptoms of lead poisoning are similar to those of flus or
                      viruses, the only way to know if a child is poisoned is to have a doctor
                      perform a simple blood test.

                      Blood Testing: The only way to detect lead poisoning is by
                      performing a simple blood test. The bodies of children six-months to two
                      years of age absorb more lead; thus, testing is increasingly important for
                      their health. Nevertheless, all children under the age of six should have
                      their blood-lead levels tested at their regular pediatrician's office or at a
                      public health clinic, even if nothing is apparently wrong with their health.
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                      What are the main sources of lead?
                        Lead hazards can be found in several places inside and outside of your
                      home, including:

                      > Old Paint: Lead-based paint, most often found in homes built
                        before 1978, is unsafe if it peels, chips, cracks, or chalks. Since babies
                        and young children often put their hands and other objects in their
                        mouths, they are likely to swallow lead dust or chew paint chips.
                      > Lead Dust: This harmful, invisible dust is created when win-
                        dows, doors, edges of stairs, rails, or other surfaces with lead-based
                        paint wear down from repeated friction, such as opening or closing
                        windows or doors. Children are most often poisoned by consuming
                        lead dust through  normal hand-to-mouth activity. Pregnant women
                        who breathe in high levels of lead dust can transmit lead to their
                        unborn children, causing serious damage.
                      > Important: Lead dust can spread throughout a home when walls
                        or other painted surfaces are sanded, scraped, or torn down. Only
                        trained professionals should safely remove old paint surfaces in a home.
                      > Soil: Soil surrounding homes may be contaminated from chipping
                        or flaking exterior  lead-based paint. While playing outside, especially
                        on bare soil, children can accidentally swallow the contaminated soil,
                        or track it indoors on carpets and floors where they can come  into
                        contact with it.
For more information about lead poisoning, visit EPA's Web site at or call The National Lead Information Center at
                   1-800-424-LEAD (5323).

 What You Need  To  Know About Lead  What You Need  To
You  Need  To Know  About  Lead What You  Need To Know
 What You Need  To  Know About Lead  What You Need  To
        > Drinking Water: Lead pipes placed in homes before 1930 are
          likely to contain lead, which is released into drinking water as it passes
          through the old pipes. Between 10 and 20 percent of a non-lead
          poisoned child's total lead contact comes from drinking water.
        > Food: Lead can leech into food or drinks, which are stored in
          imported ceramic dishes or pottery.
        Other sources of Lead:
        > Workplace exposure: Parents who work in lead-related
          industries (namely painting, automotive, or recycling industries) or use
          lead for hobbies (such as for stained glass windows).
        > Home remedies: Aragon, greta, or pay-loo-ah.
        > Cosmetics: Kohl and kajal.

        How can lead poisoning be prevented?
         Since treatment options for lead poisoning are limited, it's best to prevent
        lead poisoning before it has a chance to occur. Lead poisoning is preventable
        with proper:

        > Nutrition: Serve children foods with a high content of iron (such
          as eggs, cooked beans, or red meats), calcium (such as cheese,
          yogurt, or cooked greens) and vitamin C (such as citrus fruits, green
          peppers, or tomatoes). Adequate intake of these nutrients minimizes lead
          absorption in children's bodies.
        \ Housekeeping: Teach and practice healthy home habits, such as
          hand-washing before eating and sleeping, shoe removal, washing
          children's toys or other chewable surfaces, purchasing "lead-free"
          mini-blinds, and wet mopping and drying floors and surfaces. Hire a
          certified professional to safely remove lead sources from a home. Make
          sure children and pregnant women do not stay inside a home when
          renovations are underway.
        \ Personal Care: Wash your hands and your children's hands
          frequently, especially before eating and sleeping.

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For more information about lead poisoning, visit EPA's Web site at or call The National Lead Information Center at
                1-800-424-LEAD (5323).