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What is Lead Poisoning?

Lead is a metal found in the environment. Lead is a poison that can harm the brain, kidneys and other organs in the body. Children and pregnant women are most at risk. Lead can make it hard for children to learn and behave properly. 

The most commons sources of lead exposure are old paint, soil and house dust. Lead has been found in other products, such as some home remedies, candies and toys.

Risk Factors
Those at greatest risk of lead poisoning are children 6 months through 5 years of age, pregnant women and their unborn children, those who work with lead, and those who live in homes built before 1978 which may have lead paint. 

Read: Lead Poisoning and Pregnancy

Symptoms of Lead Poisoning
Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, tiredness, muscle weakness and irritability are symptoms of lead poisoning. However, many people with lead poisoning have no symptoms. 

Effects of Lead Poisoning
Lead poisoning can cause diminished intelligence, including loss of IQ points, developmental delays, behavioral problems, kidney and liver damage, reproductive problems, seizures and death. It takes a very small amount of lead to cause decreased IQ.

Preventing Lead Poisoning

Keep your home clean and dust-free. Wet mop floors, wet wipe windowsills, vacuum and wash all surfaces often. Use household cleaner and rinse with clean water. This keeps lead in dust and dirt from spreading in the house.

Keep furniture away from paint that is chipped or peeling. Move cribs, playpens, beds and high chairs away from damaged paint. This helps keep lead in paint chips and dust away from your child.

Never sand, dry scrape, power wash or sandblast paint unless it has been tested and does not have lead in it. Lead dust from paint can spread and poison your family, pets and neighbors.

There may also be lead in the dirt around your home from the past use of lead in gasoline and in factories. Cover bare dirt outside where your child plays. Use grass or other plants, bark, gravel or concrete. This keeps lead in the dirt away from your child.

Take off shoes or wipe them on a doormat before going inside. This keeps dirt outside.

Change out of work clothes and shoes, and wash up or shower before getting in a car or going home if you work with lead. Lead is in many workplaces:

-painting and remodeling sites;

-radiator repair shops;

-places that make or recycle batteries.

Ask your employer to tell you if you work with lead. Children can be poisoned from lead dust brought home on skin, hair, clothes and shoes and in the car.

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