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Lead Paint Poisoning
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Lead Poisoning Can Harm Kids

Jan 22, 2005 | Globe Gazette

So you have a little cracked paint around the inside of your windows. Who cares?

You should.

Before it was banned for use in houses in 1978, lead- based paint was commonly used. Unfortunately, banning lead based paint did not remove the existing paint in the homes across Iowa. Whether or not you have a run-down or really well-kept pre-1978 home, you may have lead in the dust, paint or soil in and around your home.

The problem with lead- based paint in your home is children are commonly poisoned by it.

One out of seven of Iowa's children are lead-poisoned. That's three times the national average.

Why is there such a problem in Iowa? We have a large number of homes built prior to 1978, which means if you own one of these homes, assume that you have lead based paint in it. This is not a disease that only affects low- income families or minority families; lead poisoning affects everyone.

Lead can be dangerous in many ways. Some assume that a child must eat lead paint chips to become lead- poisoned, but that is simply not true. The toxin is much more devious than that.

Every time that you open the window or a door that was once painted with lead- based paint, the friction creates microscopic lead dust that gets into the air and your child's lungs as well as onto clothing, toys, furniture and carpets. Every time your child touches the dust and then puts his hand or toy into his mouth, lead is ingested.

Unfortunately, most lead- poisoned children do not show any signs of the disease. And at the same time, lead can be toxic to every organ in a child's body. This poisoning most commonly causes learning disabilities, speech delays and behavioral problems, including aggressiveness.

Physical signs mimic many other childhood illnesses and are not seen until levels are high. Symptoms may include poor appetite, excited behavior, stomach aches and inability to pay attention. Babies' and toddlers' brains grow more rapidly than at any other time in their lives and lead can have a detrimental effect on that. Furthermore, children commonly place toys and hands into their mouths, creating an opportune situation for ingestion and poisoning


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