The Sacramento County Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program Coordinator, Cynthia Johnston, announced plans today to observe Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, October 25th – 31st, with a week-long information campaign about childhood lead poisoning issues. The theme this year is “Prevent Childhood Lead Poisoning. Learn Where Lead Can Be.” Campaign highlights include distributing a week of action turn-key kit and educational materials to community-based organizations, staff trainings and parent presentations.
Children with lead poisoning usually do not look or act sick; however, they may sometimes have symptoms like tiredness, stomach aches, vomiting, hearing or vision problems and trouble sleeping. They may also have learning problems, Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and slow physical growth. Lead poisoning can cause damage to the kidneys, nervous system and/or brain and can even cause death.
The only way to know if a child has lead poisoning is through a blood test. Any parent who believes his or her child is at risk for lead poisoning should request that their child’s doctor test for lead.
Children can be exposed to lead by ingesting lead-contaminated dust, paint chips from deteriorating lead-based paint, and lead-contaminated soil. Other sources of lead poisoning include traditional home remedies or cosmetics like surma, lead dust brought home on parents' work clothes, certain imported ceramic pottery, painted objects, imported candies, food products toys and jewelry. Additionally, activities that involve lead products such as soldering, electrical work, automotive repair, making stained glass objects, and handling bullets or fishing sinkers can put children at risk.
While lead is common in and around the home, below are several prevention strategies that parents and caregivers can use to keep the children in their care safe:
Clean up lead dust by regularly wet-mopping floors, wiping down window ledges and washing surfaces with a bleach and water solution.
Never sand, scrape, or burn paint made before 1978.
Have children wash their hands often. They should wash their hands before eating and sleeping, and after playing.
Do not use older, imported, or ceramic dishes for serving, preparing or storing food or drink unless it does not contain lead. Items can be tested with a lead test kit purchased from a home improvement store. They are low-cost and easy to use. The test kits can also be used to test toys, jewelry and other items.
Do not let children drink out of the hose and run tap water for 30 seconds before using the water for drinking or cooking.
Children should not eat imported candy or imported canned food items since these items may contain varying levels of lead.
Children should not use home remedies or cosmetics like azarcon, greta, sindoor or surma. Always consult a doctor before giving a child any of these products.