Lead has harmful effects to the human body – just like many of the heavy metals. However, unlike arsenic or mercury, which are highly controlled and contain numerous warnings when used in products, lead is often hiding in plain sight. Lead paint was used widely in the United States until the late 1970s when the government banned its manufacture, but it remains as a dangerous legacy in many older homes. Children, who are most likely to be exposed to lead in a home, are also the most affected by it. Learn about the dangers and what you can do to protect them.
Lead Poisoning in Children
As mentioned above, children are more susceptible to lead exposure than adults, and it isn’t just because of their smaller body mass. While hazardous to people of any age, lead can interfere with body growth and brain development.
- Bone Growth: As a mineral, lead can interfere with and block the absorption of calcium into growing bones, leading to stunted growth and weaker bones more prone to fractures.
- Brain Development: Lead also interferes with growing brains, leading to developmental delays (comprehension, speech, and reading), speech and language problems, and overall lower IQs.
- Systems & Organs: Lead can affect the nervous system, including issues with reaction and fine motor control, as well as damage to the kidneys and hearing.
How Children are Exposed to Lead
The most common exposure to lead for children is from lead paint, which comes in two forms. The first is from lead paint in the home, through lead dust from aging homes and during renovations or through lead paint chips from consumption (children with pica are especially at risk). The second is through toys that contain lead paint, a risk from imported toys from countries without bans or regulations on lead paint. Other exposure points can be from old lead pipes in the home or city lines, contaminated soil, and food consumption from lead-glazed or painted bowls or plates.
Further Reading on Lead Paint and Poisoning
Interested in learning more? Check out our other blogs on the subject:
- Lead Remediation: Why Is There Lead in Paint?
- Lead Poisoning from Lead-Based Paints
- Why We Test for Asbestos, Mold and Lead at the Same Time
If you have children and think you’ve got lead-based paints on your walls, it’s important to get them tested. Fiber Control, Inc. can help you detect and remove lead safety using Lead RRP procedures. We also provide asbestos detection and remediation, a substance often found in homes of the same time period. Contact us today to get started.