National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, recognized October 20-26, 2019, was created to increase awareness about lead poisoning prevention and decreasing potential exposure to lead. This year’s theme is “Get the Facts, Get Your Home Tested, Get Your Child Tested.” According to the 2018 South Carolina State Health Assessment, 36,083 children were tested for childhood lead poisoning, representing a 15.6% increase from 2013. The main sources of lead in South Carolina are related to contaminated soil or dust and chipping lead-based paint in older homes.
Here are some facts about lead and lead poisoning:
- Lead, a naturally occurring metal, can be found in homes built before 1978 (when lead-based paints were banned). When the paint peels and cracks, lead dust is created. Children can be poisoned if they swallow or breathe that dust.
- Lead can also be found in certain water pipes, toys, jewelry, and imported candies.
- Occupations and hobbies that involve working with lead-based products, like stained glass work, may cause adults to bring lead into their homes.
- Lead poisoning is 100% preventable. Blood lead tests determine if you or your child have been exposed to lead.
- There is no cure for lead poisoning. That is why preventing exposure to lead, especially among children, is important. Finding and removing sources of lead from the child’s environment is needed to prevent further exposure. While there is no cure, parents can help reduce the effects of lead by talking to their doctor and getting connected to learning, nutritional, and behavioral programs as soon as possible. Finding and removing the sources of lead from your environment is necessary to prevent further exposure.
- Long term effects of lead poisoning may include: brain damage, loss of IQ points, learning disabilities, developmental delay, and behavioral and attention problems.
- Lead-safe certified contractors can safely renovate your home. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for more information about the Renovation, Repair and Painting Program.
Lead poisoning along with other toxic substances within our homes and communities impact our health and safety. For more information about where to find lead and ways to prevent exposure, visit www.scdhec.gov/lead.