Lead is hazardous and exposure is a serious health concern, especially for children and women of child-bearing age.
What should you know?
- During pregnancy, lead is released from the mother to the fetus and can result in reduced growth of the fetus or premature birth.
- Lead exposure, even at low levels, has been shown to harm the developing brains and bodies of infants and young children, which includes:
- >> Lower IQ or ability to learn, increased behavior and learning problems, slowed growth and hyperactivity
- >> Impaired school performance and increased juvenile delinquency
- >> Increased childhood health problems such as speech and language delays, hearing problems, kidney damage, seizures, and in rare cases, death
- Infants and children absorb 5 to 10 times more lead on an empty stomach than adults.
- Children generally ingest lead-contaminated soil and dust at higher rates than adults because of hand-to-mouth behaviors.
- There are often no signs or symptoms of lead exposure. The only way to know if you or your child is being affected by lead is to get a blood lead test.
What can you do?
- If possible, choose breastfeeding as the healthiest option for your infant’s first year.
- Women of child-bearing age and children under 6 should ALWAYS drink and cook with filtered or bottled water; this includes water used for formula or juices. Buy an NSF/ANSI 53 water filter that is certified to remove lead.
- If you cannot afford a filter, always run the cold water tap for 3 minutes between uses.
- Use paper towels, soap and water to wipe surfaces where paint is chipping, peeling, cracking or chalking. Clean these surfaces weekly.
- Wash dust and paint flakes off of hands, bodies, toys, bottles, clothes, windows, pacifiers and floors with soap and water.
What should you NOT do?
- DO NOT cook or make infant formula with hot tap water.
- Boiling water DOES NOT remove lead.
- DO NOT walk through the home with shoes or clothes if you work with lead, are renovating a home or have recently been exposed to bare soil.