More than 400,000 people die from lead poisoning a year in the United States. Lead poisoning can also cause serious health problems such as high blood pressure, respiratory problems, depression, reduced sperm count, and miscarriages and stillbirth.
Young children are especially vulnerable, and childhood lead poisoning can stunt their physical and mental development. Children exposed to lead poisoning pre-birth are more likely to be born prematurely and to experience low birth weight and slowed growth.
Older adults are also at greater risk because they may have been exposed to lead longer, especially before laws restricted the use of lead.
Sources of Lead Poisoning
Water is one common source of lead poisoning, and Ravinia Plumbing can help. More on that in a future blog. But here we will discuss other sources of lead exposure, and how you can minimize the risk to prevent lead exposure.
Lead paint was outlawed in 1978. But if your house was built before that, it may have lead paint on walls, windows, doors, railings, etc. Additionally, there could be lead paint on furnishings including cribs and highchairs. As paint cracks, chips and peels, children could eat it.
Here are some remedies:
- Clean up any chips you see. But do not use your vacuum cleaner, as it is not designed to pick up lead and it may spread it into the air.
- Paint over the lead paint with non-lead paint. But remove chipping or peeling lead paint before painting over it. Just painting over it is not good enough.
- It’s hard to do, but don’t let your kids chew on things you believe might contain lead.
- Wet wash windows frequently.
Dust is a common source of lead exposure. Dust can come from lead-based paint, including dust created during home remodeling if lead-based paint is not removed correctly. Lead dust can also be tracked in through soil containing lead. Here are some lead poisoning prevention tips:
- Do not allow children to play or eat around a window area.
- Frequently wash window wells, sills, and floors.
- Keep windows closed on windy days to prevent lead-contaminated soil from entering your home.
- Wash your hands frequently and, perhaps more importantly, your kids’ hands.
- Wash bottles, teething rings, and toys.
- Adults exposed to lead while working should shower, change clothes and shoes before coming home if possible.
- Those work clothes should not be washed with other clothes. After cleaning the work clothes, use the rinse cycle before using the washing machine again.
Soil can become contaminated with lead from paint, or from past use of leaded gasoline on the lawn. While it is extremely difficult to keep children from playing in these areas, here are some risk-reducing tips:
- Take your shoes off at the door so you do not track soil in.
- Keep rugs near the entrance of your home, and wash them frequently and separately from other items. Once you complete that load, run the rinse cycle before using the washing machine again.
- Try to reduce the amount of bare soil on your property by covering it with ground cover such as grass, mulch, shrubs, etc.
- Teach your children not to eat dirt.
- Do not let your kids eat near bare soil.
If there is a great deal of lead in the soil, there is a risk that food can become contaminated. Here are some tips to lower the exposure:
- Plant your garden as far away as possible from any structure (house, garage, fence, etc.) that may contain chipping lead.
- Wash fruits and vegetables from the garden thoroughly.
- Remove the outer leaves of leafy green vegetables.
- Store food and juices in plastic or glass containers, not open cans.
Contact Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric to Ensure There is No Lead in Your Water
Next month we will discuss in greater detail how to protect your water supply from lead contamination. But if you do fear there is lead in your water, the plumbing professionals at Ravinia Plumbing can help you identify any potential problems. We’ve been in business since 1928, and we’ve made a name for ourselves as one of the most trusted and reliable plumbing, sewer, HVAC, and electrical companies in Chicagoland. Contact Ravinia Plumbing today to schedule an appointment.