Home  Advisory:
                                       Talking   Points
                                       for  Head   Start  Staff
                                                  Are my children at risk for being lead
                                                  poisoned?
                                                   Children under the age of six who live in housing built before 1978 are
                                                  at a high risk for being poisoned by lead.
       When you are preparing for a home visit,
       read this lead poisoning fact sheet so you
  can help educate parents about lead poisoning
  and how to prevent it. To complement these
  talking points, we've developed a checklist
  that you can walk parents through or leave
  behind after your visit.

  The following questions and answers provide
  you with information you need about lead.
  Don't forget to refer parents to the  "Chance of
  a Lifetime"brochure for more information on
  lead.

  Why should you be worried about lead?
    Lead in the body can cause learning or behavior problems, brain, liver,
  and kidney damage, or hearing loss. Extreme cases of lead poisoning may
  even cause seizures, coma, or death!

  Could  lead be found in  and around
  my home?
    Lead is a harmful metal typically found in homes built before 1978,
  and is located in several household products and materials, including:
  > Chipping and peeling old paint;
  > Lead dust created when windows or doors with lead-
    paint surfaces are frequently opened and closed;
  '. Contaminated soil and food;
  ; Water contaminated by plumbing made with lead; and
    Clothing and shoes of people  who work in lead-related
    industries like painters, automobile repairers, battery
    makers, stained glass hobbyists, and construction
    workers.
                     How can you tell if your child is lead
                     poisoned?
                      Children poisoned by lead often do not look sick. The onJysure way
                     to know if someone has too much lead in his or her body is by taking a
                     simple blood test. Upon entering the Head Start Program, children are
                     required to have their blood tested. If you're not sure if this procedure has
                     been performed, ask your child's doctor for a test, or ask about the results
                     of earlier blood tests. Children with lead poisoning may also complain of
                     headaches or stomachaches, or become irritable.

                     How can you prevent lead poisoning?
                     : Test all of your children (under the age of six) for lead
                       poisoning.
                     > Talk with your landlord about fixing peeling or
                       chipping paint in your home.
                     > Keep children away from soil that may have lead in it.
                     > Clean your floors, window sills, and other surfaces regularly.
                     * Feed your children four to six small healthy meals a day.
                     * Wash children's hands, toys, bottles, and pacifiers often.
                     > Use a doormat to wipe soil off your shoes before
                       entering the home.
                     > Run your sink faucet with cold water for 15 to 30 sec-
                       onds or until cold  (use a filter certified to remove lead)
                       before drinking or using for cooking.
                     > Cook and store food and drinks in containers other
                       than imported pottery, dishware, crystal, or china.

                     Who should you contact if you believe
                     your family  has a lead problem?
                      To speak with someone about protecting your family from lead poisoning,
                     contact your local health department or the National  Lead Information
                     Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323) (for added convenience, bilin-
                     gual specialists also are available to assist you). To learn more about
                     lead or to obtain copies of public documents related to lead topics,
                     visit EPA's Web site at www.epa.gov/lead.
                 LEAD
                 Awareness
                 Program
Thank you for taking the time to talk to parents and children
    about the importance of lead poisoning prevention.
* PR

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