Hazards Around the House: Lead Poisoning

Kids do the darndest things! Whether they’re drawing on the walls or making up nonsense songs, the behavior of young children can be tiring and challenging. Other times, it’s spontaneous and unique. And overall, kids never fail to make life interesting!

However, if you’re a parent, grandparent, or caregiver, you know that innocent play can quickly turn dangerous. For example, a baby might choke on a small toy or a toddler could tumble into a pool, leading to a tragedy that happens before anyone has time to act. Because of these everyday hazards, many parents and guardians know to follow basic safety rules, like putting up pool gates or supervising children during play. Still, they might be overlooking one common-but-dangerous household hazard: lead.

What is Lead?

Lead (Pb on the periodic table) is a naturally occurring metal, and is found deep within the ground. Unlike some other metals, it is incredibly abundant. It is also very easy to extract from the ground and is a malleable substance, which means that it can be used for a variety of purposes. Due to its abundance, accessibility, and malleability, lead was a popular metal up until the 1980s, and was frequently seen in:

  • Paint
  • Ceramics
  • Pipes
  • Gasoline
  • Cosmetics
  • Batteries

Because of its frequent use in paint and pipes, it’s likely that aspects of your home, like doors, windows, or bannisters, contain lead if you live in a building that was built prior to 1978. Additionally, anything else from that era, like family dishes or vintage toys, might contain lead.

The Dangers of Lead Poisoning

For a while, lead was everywhere. But that doesn’t mean it was safe.  In fact, it is toxic, and can cause serious health problems. When absorbed into the body via basic exposure, it builds up over time, eventually affecting the bloodstream, organs, bones, and other parts of the body. When this happens, it may cause a variety of issues in children, including:

  • Decreased bone and muscle growth
  • Poor muscle coordination
  • Damage to the nervous system
  • Kidney damage
  • Hearing damage
  • Speech and language problems
  • Developmental delays
  • Seizures

Adults can also be affected, though the effects are generally not as severe. In adults, symptoms include high blood pressure, headaches, and muscle pain. It can also cause infertility issues in men, and cause miscarriages, stillbirths, and premature birth during pregnancy.

Lead Poisoning Prevention

In recent decades, the use of lead has been heavily regulated, cutting down on cases of lead poisoning in the United States. Still, it can still slip into household items. This sometimes occurs when companies negligently or mistakenly use lead in their products. In these cases, they should issue a full recall to keep their consumers safe.

Don’t let worries get in the way of your child’s fun—but you should take some precautions around the house to prevent lead poisoning. Here are a few tips:

  • Have paint or dust from your home tested
  • Keep your child away from household items or areas that might contain lead, like peeling wallpaper
  • Regularly wash your child’s toy, and make sure they wash their hands after playing
  • Regularly wipe down surfaces to get rid of excess dust
  • Take off your shoes before entering the house, as your shoes might carry in lead from outdoor soil
  • Keep children from playing in soil

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The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

 

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