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Protect children against lead poisoning

June 10, 2012
By CATHY BROWNFIELD - Family Recovery Center , Salem News

LISBON - Lead can be found in your yard, in house dust, and in older homes. It's unsafe for people, especially infants and children.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lowered its definition of lead poisoning for children to five micrograms of lead per decilieter of blood from the previous level of 10 micrograms, based on a recommendation from its Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention," it has recently been announced from Atlanta.

"Researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on children 1-5 years old to update the value for lead poisoning. Approximately 250,000 U.S. children have blood levels above 10 micrograms and about 200,000 children have blood levels between 5 and 10 micrograms," according to CDC, adding that young children may suffer from impaired hearing and negative behavioral outcomes from concentrations of lead lower than the previous standard.

The Ohio Department of Health advises that "Lead can damage nearly every system in the body and has harmful effects on both adults and children. Lead poisoning is the greatest environmental threat to children in Ohio."

Lead occurs naturally in the environment. It's in the soil in your yard. Much of it comes from man made sources though, in manufacturing and mining. Changes over the past 30 years have banned lead from gasoline and paint, but it still is used in batteries, pipes, roofing materials, pottery, solder and some cosmetics, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Lead poisoning can be traced to some traditional medications, things like greta or azarcon, litargirio, ba-baw-san, ghasard and daw tway, all from other countries. It can be found in soil, bullets, fishing weights, and if you read the information that comes with the strings of lights you use to decorate with at holidays, you may find a lead advisory to wash your hands well after handling.

Mostly children are exposed to lead through lead-based paint that has deteriorated and may still be present in homes built before 1978, and lead contaminated dust.

"All children under the age of 6 are at risk because they are growing so rapidly and because they tend to put their hands or other objects which may be contaminated with lead dust, into their mouths." The CDC adds that children living in older homes are at a greater risk, especially those living at or below the poverty line.

Lead poisoning can be prevented. Look into testing paint and dust from your home. Don't allow children access to peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint. If the home is older than 1978, you might want to assume that it does contain lead-based paint.

When renovations are ongoing in an older home, pregnant women and children should not be there. Create barriers between children's play areas and lead-contaminated areas. Regularly wash children's hands and toys. Wet mop floors and wet wipe window sills at least every couple of weeks. Don't let your children play in bare soil. Sandboxes are recommended and covers when not in use are also encouraged to keep critters from using the sandbox as a litter box.

- A healthy diet reduces lead absorption.

- Don't skip meals. Empty stomachs absorb lead.

- Wash children's hands often and thoroughly.

- Limit fat and sugar intake.

- Snack on fruits and vegetables instead of chips and candy.

- Properly wash food before consuming.

- Store and heat food in safe containers.

- Don't eat food that has fallen on the floor.

For more information, Google "lead poisoning in children." For more nutritional information, visit

Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and mental health issues, Making Recovery a Reality. For more information about FRC programs, contact us at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468 or e-mail,



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