If stories from Flint, MI broke your heart forcing you to take a second look at lead poisoning and lead replacement, wondering how to feel safe in your own environment, you’re not alone. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently asked the federal government to fund programs linked to lead removal and prevention and to reduce the amount of lead that is allowed in paint, water and house dust. Fortunately, there are lead replacement alternatives out there, such as nontoxic high density materials which can mimic the density and mass of lead in the form of injection moldable plastics. Unfortunately, we have not seen nearly high enough adoption rates of these materials, by governments or businesses. We need to begin to take the dangers of lead more seriously as evidenced by the crisis in Flint, and we need to take action today.
Learn Where Lead Can be Found
If your kids spend time in buildings that were constructed before the year 1978 or you live in areas that are close to industries or a freeway, you could be at a risk of exposing your child to lead exposure. If someone at your house works with products that contain lead, your child could be at risk. The safest way is to test the levels of lead around your house, in your water and in the backyard. They have do-it-yourself kits and some health departments also offer free testing.
Get Your Child Lead Screened
Don’t wait for the doctor to suggest screening for lead. If you’re remotely concerned about lead exposure, you simply need to get the child’s blood levels checked. Certain states have already mandated testing for the youngest children and it’s a requirement for those in the Medicaid program. However, compliance isn’t always guaranteed. If the level of exposure is more than 5 microgram per deciliter, you need to find the source of lead and get a lead replacement.
Hygiene and Diet
Prevention has always been the best cure. And the food you eat and the habits you have can play a huge role in preventing lead poisoning. Just add lead protection as another benefit of staying away from fat. Make nutritious meals for your family, add more iron and calcium in the diet, and make sure that your kids wash their hands and faces often, particularly before they go to bed or have a meal.
Lead poisoning in water isn’t usually a major issue, but of course an issue in cases like the disaster in Flint. Lead poisoning only exists in water if it comes to you via pipes that are made using lead or lead fittings. The simplest way to reduce lead poisoning is to avoid hot water and use cold water for cooking and drinking. You can also let the water run for 30 seconds to one minute before using it. The safest solution is to get the water tested. Many cities are offering water testing for free. And even if the government doesn’t do it for you, all it takes is $50.
Keeping your surrounding clean can also help to reduce lead poisoning. Keep dust to a minimum by wet mopping floors and sills on a regular basis. Avoid using cleaning techniques that can wear down the paint. Don’t forget to clean those toys regularly, particularly pacifiers and teething toys.
Remove Existing Hazards
Your child can get exposed to lead by eating paint chips that contain lead, drinking contaminated water or simply inhaling contaminated dust particles. Avoid this by cleaning up the dust and not allowing your child play in old buildings. Determine existing health hazards and use lead replacement materials and nontoxic high density materials. Get your surroundings checked and you’re good to go.
These practices can have a great effect in your fight against lead poisoning. Don’t allow lead to ruin your child’s future. After all, the only thing you need to protect your child is some common sense and a little bit of care and extra effort.