Lead poisoning can be very dangerous, especially for children. This type of poisoning affects the brain and the central nervous system, which is not yet fully developed in children, which is why it is important to make sure the children are not exposed to lead.
Exposure to lead
It may sound scary, but the place where people are most exposed to lead are their own homes. It can be found in toys, old paint, dust, air, soil, tap water, food and ceramics. Children often come in contact with lead through objects painted with lead-based paint, like toys, furniture and ceramics. At a certain age, children tend to put different objects in their mouth, and if those objects contain lead, the exposure is likely to happen.
There are different levels of lead poisoning, with different effects. In children, low levels of lead in the blood can cause low IQ, difficulty learning, attention deficit disorder, impaired hearing and kidney problems. High blood levels may cause mental retardation, coma and even death.
In adults, some of the effects may include hypertension, nerve disorders, infertility, irritability, muscle pain, joint pain and problems with concentration and memory.
Prevention of lead poisoning
Homes built before 1978 should be tested for lead, because that was the year when lead-based paints were banned. It is also recommended to check all toys the children use, especially imported ones. There are home lead tests that are very effective, widely available and inexpensive.
Exposure to lead at home can be prevented in different ways. It helps to make sure the pain is maintained and to moisten the surfaces before painting them, which will prevent the dust from forming. Debris after painting should be carefully removed.
If there is a child in the household, additional precautions are highly advised. Parents should make sure the child washes his or her hands frequently and thoroughly, and all toys should be frequently cleaned, especially those that the child uses the most.
Fixing the lead problem
Sometimes even the best precautionary measures can fail and if the home lead test turns out positive to lead contamination, it is important to solve the problem as soon as possible. The only safe way to do so is to call a certified lead abatement contractor.
Abatement is a procedure for removing hazardous materials through removing, sealing and enclosing, using special materials and equipment. Only the certified contractors should be hired, and they should always comply to strict standards of safety and effectiveness.