Did you know that this week is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week?  And because almost one million children in the USA suffer from some form of lead poisoning, we believe that it is important for parents and caregivers to have some knowledge of the teachings of National Lead Poisoning Week.

In this post we will explain what lead poisoning may look like, who is most at risk for lead poisoning and why, sneaky places where lead that surrounds our children hides, and simple tips on how to protect your family from lead poisoning.

This is an important prevention for the health of our children because when levels of lead accumulate excessively in our children’s systems the sufferings include brain and nervous system damage,  headaches, behavioral problems that may cause children to be violent and hyperactive.  That being stated, it is also important to note that there are not always signs of excessive levels of lead in our children’s bodies.

Signs of Lead Poisoning In A Child Or Baby

The most prominent symptoms of lead poisoning include drowsiness, irritability, poor muscle coordination, fussiness, loss of appetite, upset stomach, constipation, anemia, reduced attention span, and inability to sleep.

Who Is Most At Risk For Lead Poisoning?

All children under 6 years of age are most at risk due to their tiny systems including immune and respiratory.  The younger children who put their hands and toys in their mouths are even more prone to lead exposure.

Children’s brains and nervous systems are still developing so it is such a sensitive time for them to be exposed to lead.  Additionally, their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults.  LeadFreeKids.org states that a human body cannot tell the difference between lead and calcium, which is a mineral that strengthens bones. Like calcium, lead remains in the bloodstream for a few weeks. Then it is absorbed into the bones, where it can collect for a lifetime.

Lead can also be harmful to fetuses.  If an expecting mother is not absorbing enough calcium from her diet, the chances of  her fetus absorbing lead from her mother increases. Along with following our tips below, pregnant moms should eat a healthy diet rich in calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin C. Adequate calcium intake decreases the amount of lead released from the bones.

And as  authors of the book Lead Babies told us earlier this year, “Lead is transferred directly from mother to unborn baby at exactly the time that the central nervous system is rapidly developing.”

Sneaky Places That Lead Hides Increasing Our Children’s Exposure

There are the obvious places that lead hides:  paint in homes older than 1978, ceramics, pottery and toys colored with lead-based paints.  But there are many places where lead is hiding unexpectedly.  These places include dust, soil, older playgrounds and even drinking water.  You can find out more information about your tap water here.

Dust is a difficult one because the exposure is being inhaled, unknown to the human eye and young children that are continuously mouthing their hands and other objects ingest this dust too.

Additionally, we have written numerous articles on other sneaky places lead hide.  Reduce or completely stop your exposure to these sources of lead:

Tips To Protect Your Family From Lead Exposure

Dusting often, especially if you have an infant or baby in the home can reduce exposure to lead that is inhaled from dust coming off of appliances, electronics, toys, etc is one simple way to reduce potential lead exposure in your home.  Also, you can have your child tested for lead from his/her doctor.  Have your child wash their hands well after coming indoors from playing, and especially before eating.

Also, please educate yourself with our linked posts in this article.  For example, if you are giving your child a juice from our above link which includes lead, and your child’s vitamins include lead, then there would be 2 very obvious places to change your brand and reduce daily ingested exposure.

LEAD IS A FACT OF LIFE.  And you need a plan to deal with it.  Thanks to Joanna Cerazy and Sandra Cottingham, authors of Lead Babies, our exclusive interview done back in March, 2010, will give you more insight on the dangers of lead exposure for our children, and what we can do to reduce exposure.  This article is super informative and you can read it here.

Other links on this topic:

LeadFreeKids.org

EPA.gov