Lead the Way to Lead Safety
of the most leading questions I get nowadays is about lead and whether children
can still get lead poisoning. Since
October is Lead Poisoning Prevention Month, let me get the lead out and provide
some information on this subject.
poisoning is still a problem and affects almost one million children in the U.S. In 1996 the Vermont legislature passed Act
165 requiring all owners of rental housing and childcare facilities built
before 1978 to perform lead clean-ups of their properties – however, exposure
to lead still does occur. It can result
in learning disabilities, decreased intelligence, abdominal pain and other
health problems. The key point is that
lead poisoning is preventable.
you want to reduce your child’s lead exposure here are a few suggestions:
the Department of Health recommends that all children in Vermont (and I would
encourage those in New York as well) to get tested for lead by age one, and
again at two or even earlier if they live in an old house. If you live in an older house, particularly
one built before 1978, make sure your child does not chew on painted
windowsills, cribs or playpens that may contain lead paint. Better yet, move the crib away from the
windowsills where paint chips can fall.
dust and dirt contain lead, so make sure you wash your child’s hands when they
come inside from playing.
you work in construction, demolition, or painting, don’t bring lead home by tracking in the soil from your workplace,
because that contains lots of lead.
Change your clothes before you go home or as soon as you are in the
you’re worried that your water pipes contain lead that leaches onto the surface,
run the water for 30 to 60 seconds before drinking to clear the pipes of the
you have any concerns regarding getting further educated about lead poisoning
and prevention, as well as what to do if your child’s lead level is elevated,
contact the Vermont Department of Health’s Lead Poisoning Prevention and Surveillance Program toll-free
at1-800-439-8550 or dial Vermont 2-1-1 or New
York 3-1-1 and they can give you further
Hopefully tips like this will lead or should I say lead you in the right direction when it
comes to taking care of a possible exposure to lead.
First, M.D., is chief of Pediatrics at Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher
Allen Health Care and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University
of Vermont College of Medicine. You can also catch "First with Kids"
weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and WPTZ Channel 5, or visit the First with
Kids video archives at http://www.FletcherAllen.org/firstwithkids