How to protect your family from the following lead hazards:
In homes built before 1978:
- Make sure that painted surfaces are kept in good condition.
Donít let paint start to peel or deteriorate
- Clean hard floors with a wet mop
- Wipe window sills, counters and other horizontal surfaces with a wet
cloth Ė donít stir up dust
- Use a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate
Air) vacuum to clean carpets. Other types of vacuum cleaners may spread lead
dust around the house
- Cover bare soil areas with grass, concrete, or bark
- Make sure that any repairs that disturb painted surfaces are done using
safe lead work practices (dust-free and contained)
The following occupations may be exposed to lead:
The following hobbies may lead to lead exposure
Antique furniture restoration
If you are exposed to lead in your work or with any hobbies:
- Make sure that you wash thoroughly when finished working or before
- Change work clothes before entering your home
Wash work clothes separately from the rest of the familyís clothes
Limit the amount of imported candies your family eats. Imported candies from Mexico frequently have lead levels above what is allowed by California state law, especially if the candies have tamarind or chili powder. The amount of lead from candies can build up in the body over time and studies have shown that even small amounts of lead in a childís body can lead to permanent learning and behavioral problems. The list of candies that are hazardous changes frequently. It is safer to avoid these types of candies until they
are consistently proven to be safe. Please visit California Department of Public Health Food & Drug Branch for the latest information on lead candy recalls.
Knowing what toys and jewelry are safe can be difficult. Some lead test kits can be used to test the product, but they will only tell you if the surface paint contains lead. You can visit the CDCís website to check for the latest recalls. Also, examine the condition of your childís toys. Remove any that are damaged or where the paint is coming off. If your child doesnít chew on toys, they can still be exposed by lead paint or dust on their hands. Wash your childís hands regularly after playing and before eating.
Many imported home remedies, such as Greta, Azarcon, and Suma, contain dangerous levels of lead or other poisons. Also, dietary or herbal supplements are not inspected by the FDA. High lead levels have been found in some imported herbal supplements. If you or your child has taken any of these products, discuss this with your doctor and ask for a lead test.
Drinking water can be contaminated by lead from old water pipes, solder, and brass fixtures. Although laws have reduced the amount of lead permissible in drinking water systems, enough remains to be a problem. When water sits in the pipes for more than 6 hours, lead can begin to leech into the water. If you havenít used your water for a while, it is recommended that you run the cold water for at least 1 minute before you drink it or use it for cooking. Never use hot water from the tap for cooking or making formula Ė lead will leach out faster with hot water.
GET A LEAD TEST
Unfortunately, the symptoms for lead poisoning are very difficult to spot, especially at very low levels. The only way to know for sure if you or your child have lead
poisoning is through testing. Remember, even very low levels of lead in the
blood can cause permanent harm. It is important to know as soon as possible if
you or your child have lead poisoning so that any required medical treatment can begin and the source for the poisoning can be found.
For more information, call 1-800-LA-4-LEAD (5323).