“Lead poisoning is an important cause of learning disabilities, anemia, as well as growth problems, and children exposed to lead may have attention and aggression problems,” said Dr. Richard Geller, Medical Director for the CPCS site at Children’s Hospital Central California. He added that children are most commonly exposed to lead by ingesting paint chips or dirt that is contaminated with lead, or if one or both parents have occupational exposure to lead.
Dr. Geller said ways to prevent lead poisoning in children include having them wash their hands frequently, washing their toys often and providing a diet high in iron and calcium. Children who are undernourished can absorb more lead into their bodies than children with well balanced diets. Consumer lead testing kits can be found at most hardware stores and may be of use in detecting lead in the home. For more free poison and safety tips, text the word TIPS or PUNTOS for Spanish to 69866.
Dr. Geller offered the following 10 lead poisoning prevention tips:
1. Make sure your children do not chew on painted surfaces, such as toys or window sills.
2. Report chipped or cracked paint to your landlord if you live in an older home built before 1978.
3. Cover paint that is peeling or chipping with duct tape until it can be removed. Frequent floor dust removal in older homes with lead paint is important.
4. Ask your pediatrician about lead testing for your young children even if they seem healthy.
5. Some children's necklaces and bracelets, adult watches, as well as religious jewelry from Mexico, have been found to contain lead.
6. Keys frequently have small amounts of lead in them – do not let babies play with or teethe on your keychain.
7. Run the faucet for a few minutes before using cold water for cooking, drinking or preparing infant formula (this can help flush out the lead which can build up in sitting water), especially if the cold water hasn't been used in the past two hours.
8. Avoid eating foods that are canned outside the United States.
9. Traces of lead have been found in some candy and its packaging imported from Mexico containing chili or tamarind.
10. Folk medicines (especially home remedies) imported from another country also contain lead. These include: pay-loo-ah (fever and rash treatment); azarcon (also called Maria Luisa, Liga, Alarzon, Greta, Coral and Rueda); Asian folk remedies, including Ghasard, Bali Goli and Kandu; and Middle Eastern folk remedies, including farouk and bint al zahab.
Call California Poison Control System at 1-800-222-1222 for more information on lead poisoning. Trained certified pharmacists, nurses and poison information providers to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free, confidential and interpreters are always available. Become a fan on Facebook at California Poison Control System and follow on Twitter @poisoninfo.
PSAs and News items are available in English and Spanish on youtube.com at:
YouTube - Lead in Toys News Story - English http://bit.ly/df0H4L
YouTube - Lead in Toys News Story - Spanish http://bit.ly/aRmLpj
YouTube - :30 PSA: Warning: Lead in Children's Toys http://bit.ly/aegB4W
YouTube - :30 PSA: Warning: Lead in Children's Toys (Spanish) http://bit.ly/bu6Q5U
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