15 Ways to Help Keep Lead Levels Low

What can you do to minimize your child’s risk of lead poisoning? Follow these 15 suggestions to keep your child’s blood lead level low.

Talk with your pediatrician about arranging for blood lead testing for your child. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be considered for testing at 9 to 12 months and again at about 24 months, when lead levels are likely to peak. In some communities (especially those with old housing and with proven cases of lead poisoning), children should be tested at least yearly until age 6.

Keep a close eye on your toddler and watch for any teeth marks on woodwork or signs of pica inside your home and out.

Monitor the state of paint in your home, especially at windowsills, doorframes and doors, and particularly in homes built before 1950. Remove loose, chipping or flaking paint, or have it done professionally. Your city or state health department has helpful suggestions for how to remove the paint safely, without increasing the amount of lead dust in your home.

Have your household paint checked for lead if you live in older housing. Your local or state health department will do the testing for a modest fee.

Keep household dust levels down by wet-mopping wood floors and wet-wiping painted windowsills frequently.

Wash your child’s face and hands several times during the day, especially if your child has a finger- or thumb-sucking habit. Always wash the child’s hands before meals or snacks, especially those eaten with the hands.

Wash pacifiers and toys that are put into the mouth, at least daily, to reduce lead dust on them.

Minimize your toddler’s exposure to lead in the soil by planting grass and other ground cover.

Have your household water checked for lead. If you have lead pipes or lead-soldered pipes, run the first morning tap water for two minutes before the water is used for drinking or cooking. Use cold water rather than hot water for cooking (hot water will contain more lead).

Do not use imported pottery unless you know for certain it was not glazed with lead.

Offer your toddler high-calcium foods, such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Lead absorption is reduced when the child’s diet is rich in calcium.

Offer children high-iron foods (red meat, eggs, beans and legumes, and iron-fortified grains and cereals). Children who are iron-deficient absorb more lead from their environment and are at higher risk for lead poisoning.

Limit fats in food that you offer your toddler. Foods that are heavy in fat (french fries, chips, hot dogs, etc.) allow more absorption of lead.

Ask your realtor or landlord about lead levels when you purchase a house or move into a new apartment. In older cities, many apartments have been renovated and made “lead-free,” but all housing needs careful monitoring to be sure that lead hazards are minimized.

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February 8th, 2012 - Posted in Health Care | | Comments Off

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