Lead is a toxic metal that can cause serious health problems, particularly in young children. The health consequences of lead poisoning include behavioral problems, brain, liver and nerve damage as well as other life-threatening disorders. If your home was built before 1978, there are certain precautions you must take to protect your family from this toxic substance.
Many houses and apartments built before 1978 have lead-based paint. The American Healthy Homes Survey (AHHS), conducted from June 2005 through March 2006, estimated that nearly 22 percent of all homes have one or more lead-based paint hazards.
Children who live in homes with lead paint or frequently visit contaminated homes may become poisoned by eating lead paint chips or playing in contaminated soil. Both children and adults may become poisoned by breathing in lead paint dust or not washing their hands after touching surfaces or soil contaminated with lead.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recommends taking the following actions if your home was built before 1978:
- Have the home and yard tested by a lead professional.
- Have the blood lead levels of children living in the home that are ages six and under tested.
- Take off shoes when entering the house.
- Wipe down flat painted surfaces such as window sills and mop the smooth floors regularly to control dust.
- Wash children’s hands often.
- Use cold tap water for drinking and cooking.
- Pick up and discard loose paint chips.
- Vacuum regularly with a HEPA filter.
- If you rent, make sure to notify your landlord of any chipping or peeling paint.
- Take appropriate lead paint precautions when remodeling or renovating.
- Do not try to remove lead paint yourself.
For more information on protecting your family from lead health hazards, call 1-800-424-LEAD or read this brochure from the HUD.
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Home is Where the Health Is is written & published by Thompson Plumbing Heating & Cooling
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