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How can I protect my child from lead toxicity?

The most important step that parents, doctors, and others can take to keep children safe is to prevent lead exposure before it occurs!

You can take simple measures to minimize your child’s risk of lead exposure. For example:

  1. Get your child tested for lead toxicity, even if he or she seems healthy. Talk with your child’s health care provider.
  2. Check your house
  • If your home or apartment building was built before 1978, talk with your local health department about getting your home tested.
  • Keep your children away from old windows, old doors, old porches, and areas with chipping, flaking or peeling paint,
  • Do not allow your child to play in the bare dirt and dirt next to your old home. If possible, lay sod on areas of bare soil or cover bare spots with grass seed, mulch or wood chips.

3. Keep your home clean

  • Follow safe cleaning steps to help keep your home clean and reduce your child’s risk of exposure. Use these tips to clean your windows, doors, floors, porches, stairs and child play areas.
    • Put on gloves. If you do not have rubber gloves, wash your hands well after cleaning
    • Use the right cleaners and disposable supplies. Use soapy cleaners or products made to remove lead dust.
    • Remove paint chips first. Window areas and porches often have peeling paint and lead dust. Pick up visible chips and dispose of them in a plastic bag.
    • Always wet-mop floors and window sills. Do not broom lead dust. Dispose of cloths after wiping each area. If using a mop. Replace water frequently.
    • Don’t use a vacuum unless it is a HEPA vacuum. It will spread lead dust into the air you breathe.
    • Rinse after cleaning. Use clean water and a new mop head or fresh paper towels to wipe away suds.
    • Always empty wash water down a toilet.
    • Repeat these steps often when dirt and dust appear on floors, porches, window wells, window sills, stairs and children’s play areas.
  • Taking shoes off at the door can help reduce tracking in contaminated dirt.
  • Be careful not to bring lead dust into your home on the clothes or shoes from your work or a hobby. Before coming into the house, always wash, shower and change out of the clothes and shoes before leaving work and after participating in the hobby.

4. Teach your child to wash their hands.

  • Wash pacifiers and toys regularly and keep them away from areas with chipping paint.

5. Eat healthy.

  • Give your child a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of foods that are high in calcium and iron and Vitamin C. Regular meals and good nutrition might help lower lead absorption in a child’s body.
  • Don’t let children eat food that has fallen on the floor.
  • Feed your children at a clean table or highchair.

6. Use cold flushed water.

  • If you have older plumbing containing lead pipes or fittings, run your cold water for several minutes before using, especially in the morning or after it has been sitting in the pipes unused.
  • Always use cold water for making baby formula and for cooking.

7. Learn more about lead-safe practices before painting or making repairs and renovations.