Lead Poisoning - The Number One Preventable Environmental Health Threat To Children

Lead is a poison. Children can ingest lead by swallowing a lead object or by inhaling lead dust. This poison can stay in the body and cause serious health problems. Although a single high, toxic dose of lead can cause severe emergency symptoms, it is more common for lead poisoning to build up slowly over time. Repeated exposure to lead can cause serious health problems, such as difficulty sleeping or lowered IQ in children.

Lead exists everywhere, such as dirt, dust, toys and old house paint. Unfortunately, you cannot see, taste or smell lead. Lead is found in:

    * House paint before 1987
    * Toys and furniture painted before 1976
 $26nbsp;  * Painted toys and decorations made outside the U.S. (particularly toys imported from China)
    * Lead bullets, fishing sinkers and curtain weights
    * Plumbing, pipes and faucets
    * Plastic mini-blinds
    * Candy
    * Ceramic pots and dishes
    * Home remedies such as Greta and Azarcon
    * Soil contaminated by car exhaust or house paint scrapings
    * Hobbies involving soldering, stained glass, jewelry making, pottery glazing and miniature lead figures
    * Paint sets and art supplies (always check the labels)
    * Pewter pitchers and dinnerware
    * Storage batteries

Lead poisoning is more harmful to children than adults because it can affect a child's developing nerves and brain. Its effects are lifelong. Symptoms of lead poisoning include:

    * Irritability
    * Aggressive behavior
    * Low appetite and energy
    * Difficulty sleeping
    * Headaches
    * Reduced sensations
    * Loss of previous developmental skills (in young children)
    * Anemia
    * Constipation
    * Abdominal pain and cramping
    * Vomiting, staggering gait, muscle weakness, seizures, or coma

Complications from lead poisoning include:

    * Reduced IQ
    * Slowed body growth
    * Hearing problems
    * Behavior or attention problems
    * Failure at school
    * Kidney damage

For more information about lead poisoning, contact the National Information Center at 1-800-LEAD-FYI.

Hilary Basile is a writer for MyGuidesUSA.com. At http://www.myguidesusa.com you will find valuable tips and resources for handling life's major events. Whether you're planning a wedding, buying your first home, anxiously awaiting the birth of a child, contending with a divorce, searching for a new job, or planning for your retirement, you'll find answers to your questions at MyGuidesUSA.com

Find parenting tips and resources at http://becomingaparent.myguidesusa.com

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