Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Lead Poisoning Prevention Week
by Deirdre Dillow, School Nurse
Last week was 2017’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Week I have been reading a lot about Lead Poisoning and the damaging effects it can have on a child’s lifelong health. In an effort to raise awareness, I wanted to share what I have learned.
It has been estimated that somewhere around 400 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead. Exposure to lead can can seriously harm a child’s health, and the negative effects on a child’s health can not be corrected. No safe level of lead in the blood has been identified for children. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it can go on unnoticed. Exposure to lead can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, behavior and learning issues, and hearing and speech problems. These can contribute to lower IQ, decreased ability to pay attention and under-performance in school.
Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust are the most dangerous sources of lead exposure for children. All houses built before 1978 are likely to contain some lead based paint. It is the deterioration of the paint that causes the problem contributing to elevated levels of lead contaminated house dust. Children under the age of 6 are at highest risk as they tend to put their hands or other objects that may be contaminated with lead dust into their mouths. A child’s growing body absorbs more lead than an adult and their brain and nervous system are more sensitive to the damaging effect of lead. Lead testing is not a part of a routine pediatric check up. If you have reason to be concerned, talk to your pediatrician and consider contacting our local health department about having your paint and/or house dust tested for lead.
Make sure your child does not have access to peeling or chipped paint or chewable surface that may have been painted with lead based paint. Children should not be present in housing built before 1978 that is undergoing renovation. Do not allow your child to play in the soil, a known source of lead exposure. Encourage frequent hand washing and wash toys often as well. Use only cold tap water for drinking, cooking and making baby formula. Hot water is more likely to contain higher levels of lead than cold water. Most of the lead we are exposed to in our drinking water comes from the pipes, not the water supply. Click here for more helpful recommendations: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/tools/know_the_facts.pdf
To your health!
Deirdre Dillow, RN, BSN
Shorecrest Preparatory School
5101 First Street Northeast St Petersburg, FL 33703 Phone: (727) 522-2111 | Fax: (727) 527-4191 [Map]