Lead is a metal that can harm children and adults when it gets into their bodies. Lead can be found in dust, air, water, soil, and in some products used in and around our homes.
Children under six years old are more likely to get lead poisoning than any other age group.
Lead can harm a young child's growth, behavior, and ability to learn.
Most often, children get lead poisoning from breathing in or swallowing dust from old lead paint that gets on floors and windowsills, hands and toys. Lead can also be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy.
The CDC estimates that there are half a million U.S. children ages 1-5 with elevated blood lead levels and at least 4 million households with children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead.
The Elkhart County Health Department:
Lead screening tests are done with a finger stick to obtain a small blood sample.
Parents are encouraged to have their children screened for lead if any of the following conditions apply:
Lead testing can be scheduled for children ages 6 months through 6 years.
A Registered Nurse will provide case management for children with elevated blood lead levels:
There is no cost for the lead screen
Many times the lead poisoned child does not have any symptoms. The only way to find out if a child has lead poisoning is to do the lead test.
Here is a list of suggestions that will help protect your child:
Once lead is in the body, the damage it causes cannot be reversed. Chelation therapy, for children with very high lead levels, will only lower those levels. It will not repair the damage already done. Chelation therapy is only used when blood lead levels are very high.
The best way to prevent lead poisoning is to have your child tested and keep him or her from coming into contact with lead-contaminated objects.