And be a part of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week! The goal of NLPPW (October 23-29) is to raise awareness about lead poisoning and to reduce lead exposure.
Leading poisoning is 100% preventable. In fact, the CDC states that it is the most preventable environmental disease among little kids. However, an estimated 250,000 children in the United States have high blood-lead levels.
Did you know that lead pencils aren’t actually made of lead? So misleading, right? Back in 1564, a guy stumbled upon a shiny, black mineral. He called it plumbagoi, which means black lead. This mineral was really graphite and not lead. Anyways, the name stuck. Thus, lead pencils. And this explains why you cannot get lead poisoning from a lead pencil.
How do children get lead poisoning? Kids like to put things in their mouth: food, toys, hands, and other random objects. These things are usually covered with lead paint or dust. The CDC explains that over time lead paint gets ground up into tiny pieces, which become part of the dust and soil.
According to kidshealth.org, lead poisoning can lead to:
- decreased bone and muscle growth
- poor muscle coordination
- damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and/or hearing
- speech and language problems
- developmental delay
- seizures and unconsciousness (in cases of extremely high lead levels)
So to all the big sisters, big brothers, cousins, aunt, uncles, moms, dads, here are some ways to protect your little ones from lead poisoning.
- Make sure children do not have access to peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint.
- Regularly wash children’s hands and toys.
- Create barriers between living/playing areas and lead sources, such as chipping or peeling paint on walls
- Prevent children from playing in bare soil; if possible, provide them with sandboxes.