Last month, we discussed lead poisoning in your water supply, how to prevent it, and what to do if you have it.
This month, while not our area of expertise, we will discuss other sources of lead poisoning and how to reduce the risk. But we start with the potential symptoms of lead poisoning.
Lead Poisoning Symptoms
|Loss of appetite
|Low birth weight
|High blood pressure
|Joint and muscle pain
|Difficulties with memory or concentration
|Reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm
|Miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth
If you are concerned, ask your healthcare provider for a blood lead test.
Lead Poisoning Sources and Remedies
In some cases, preventing lead poisoning requires mitigating lead exposure. This means recognizing the sources of lead in your environment.
Lead paint was outlawed in 1978, but if your house was built before that, there could be lead in the paint on the walls, doors, windows, railings etc. There could also be lead on many furnishings, including cribs and highchairs. Lead paint chips and deteriorating lead-based paint remain sources to this day. Specifically, as lead paint from your home or furnishing peels or chips, children could eat it.
Here are the remedies:
- Paint over the lead paint with non-lead paint after removing and disposing of any chipping or peeling lead paint.
- Immediately dispose of any lead chips you see on the floor or anywhere else.
- Wet wash your windows.
- Try to find out what furnishings in your home may contain lead. Replace them if possible.
- Don’t let kids chew on anything you think might contain lead.
Contaminated soil also presents a risk. Emissions from leaded fuel and other sources settle into soil. The soil around your home and community can contain lead from paint or from the use of leaded gasoline back when cars, the lawn mower or the snowblower operated on leaded fuel. This lead can stay in the soil for years. We know we can’t stop the kids from playing outside, but here are some things you can do:
- Use ground cover such as grass, shrubs, etc. to reduce the amount of bare soil on your property.
- Tell the kids not to play near bare dirt and absolutely tell them not to eat it.
- Take off your shoes when you come in, and make the kids take them off, too.
- Keep rugs near the entrances to your home. Wash them frequently and separately from other items. When done, run an extra rinse cycle.
Planting a garden and eating food from that garden is great. But if there is lead in the soil, that food can become contaminated. Here are some tips.
- Plant your garden away from any structure (including a fence) that may contain lead).
- Remove the outer leaves (that would be the most likely ones to contain lead) of leafy vegetables.
- Do not store food in open cans; use plastic or glass containers instead.
- Thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables – from your garden or store-bought- before consuming.
Lead-contaminated dust can come from lead-based paint or through soil tracked into the house. Here are the remedies:
- Keep kids away from the windows.
- Close the windows on windy days to prevent lead dust from soil from entering.
- If you are exposed to lead outside the home, immediately shower and change clothes when returning home. Wash the clothes separately from other clothes, and then run an additional rinse cycle when complete.
- Keep window wells, sills, and floors clean.
- This is just another reason to encourage frequent washing of hands.
While those are the primary sources of lead poisoning, here are a few others:
- Pottery. Glazes found in ceramics, china, and porcelain can contain lead. If those items contain food, the lead can leach into that food.
- Cosmetics. A limited number of cosmetics contain lead. Check the label.
- Herbal or folk remedies. Lead poisoning has been linked to some remedies.
- Lead bullets. Time spent on firing ranges can increase exposure.
Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric Can “Get the Lead Out” of Your Drinking Water
While the above sources of lead poisoning are not our area of expertise, Ravinia Plumbing’s trained plumbers can check and see if there is lead in your drinking water. If there is, and the issue is related to your home’s plumbing, we can replace the pipes, faucets, or fixtures, and can also install a point-of-use filter for drinking water. We’ve been in business since 1928 (that’s 95 years!), and we’ve made a name for ourselves as one of the most trusted and reliable HVAC, plumbing, drain and sewer, and electrical companies in Chicagoland. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.