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Lead exposure safety for back to school: 6 tips for prevention | #schoolsaftey

Did you know? Lead exposure can cause lifelong health problems. Exposure to even small amounts of lead can cause harm and children younger than six years of age are most vulnerable to lead poisoning.

Exposure to this heavy metal harms several body systems including the brain, nervous and reproductive systems, and results in developmental and growth delays, hearing and speech problems, difficulty learning and paying attention, behavioral issues and serious illness.

Most lead exposures occur in homes or daycares where lead-based paint has deteriorated or where hazards have been created through painting or renovation done without using lead-safe work practices.

Lead exposure risks

A child is at risk of lead exposure if the child is under the age of six and:

  • Spends time in a home built before 1978
  • Home or daycare has chipping/peeling paint
  • Siblings have previously tested positive for lead poisoning
  • Lives with an adult who works with lead

Prevention of lead poisoning can be accomplished by eliminating lead-based paint hazards before children are exposed.

Six tips to prevent lead poisoning:

  1. Make sure your child has been tested for lead poisoning, even if he or she seems healthy.
  2. Clean home surfaces weekly. Use a mop, sponge or towel with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner.
  3. Make sure your child is not chewing on anything covered with lead paint.
  4. Don’t bring lead dust into your home from work or a hobby.
  5. Eat a balanced diet and don’t store food in high-lead pottery.
  6. If remodeling, follow the home improvement requirements for lead abatement.

Live Lead Safe Program

With funding provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, this partnership supplies financial aid to homeowners to reduce or eliminate lead hazards in their home.

Both owner-occupied and rental homes in Racine and Kenosha counties are eligible. Occupants of the home must meet income criteria.

Amanda Busack, MA, MCHES, is a Public Health Strategist with the Racine County Public Health Division.

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