Lead Paint Poisioning

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What is Lead Poisoning?

Children’s bodies can absorb small amounts of lead and become poisoned. Lead is a metal that is found in many places:

  • Paint inside your home or apartment
  • Vinyl mini-blinds
  • Soil
  • Water from your tap

What Does Lead Do?

Lead can cause:

  • Learning problems
  • Behavior problems
  • Hearing loss
  • Mental retardation
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Death

Will My Child Seem or Feel Sick if Poisoned by or Exposed to Lead?

Many lead-poisoned children may not seem sick. But you may notice:

  • Behavior problems
  • Short attention span
  • Stomach problems
  • Fatigue

What Should I Do?

Have your child tested for lead exposure. A finger prick test will tell you whether your child has a high blood lead level.

What Are My Rights?

All children have the right to be tested for lead. Testing is free at your County Health Department. If you are on Medicaid, you may be able to have your child tested free at your doctor’s office.

If you child’s test shows a high lead level, the Health Department must also test your home for lead.

If your landlord does not clean up the lead and make your home safe, you may have a legal claim.

Your landlord cannot punish you or expect extra money from you if the health department tells him to clean up the lead source.

How Can I Help A Child Who Has a High Lead Level?

  • Choose foods for the child that are high in iron and calcium. Iron and calcium block the body’s absorption of lead.
  • Keep your windowsills and floors clean and free of dust that might contain lead.
  • Wash your child’s hands frequently.

Is My Child at Risk for Lead Poisoning?

Your child is at risk for lead poisoning if you answer “yes” to any of the following questions:

  • Do you live in (or regularly visit) a house or an apartment built before 1978?
  • Does your home (or any home that you regularly visit) have vinyl mini blinds?
  • Does your child have a brother or sister or playmate who has or has had a high blood lead level?

If your child or children are at risk, have their blood level checked at your health department .

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