Lead Poisoning is a danger for every baby and child. If you are pregnant, protect yourself and your baby from lead poisoning.
What Is Lead?
Lead is a heavy metal. It was used in many materials and products before the risk to young children was known. Certain products such as paints used in older houses before 1978, lead solder used in plumbing, and leaded gasoline were used before their harmful health effects were recognized. Although laws now prevent lead from being used in many products, there can still be lead hazards in and around many homes.
Children 6 years old and under are most at risk because their bodies are still developing. Lead can also harm babies before they are born. A young child's exposure to lead can cause learning and behavioral problems and possibly damage their brains, kidneys, and other organs.
Where Does Lead Come From?
The main way most young children are exposed to harmful levels of lead is through contact with lead contaminated paint and dust in older homes.
Other sources of lead:
- Imported candies or foods
- The workplace and hobbies
- Imported food in cans. Lead-glazed ceramics, china, leaded crystal glassware
- Metal Jewelry.
- Folk medicines, ayurvedics and cosmetics.
- Other common sources of lead (car batteries, radiators, some inks, etc.)
What can you do to protect your child?
Be aware of ways you can be exposed to lead and prevent exposure.
If you live in a home built before 1978:
- Wash away lead dust
- Wash children’s hands or toys often – even if they don’t look dirty – to remove lead dust
- Mop floors often and use damp cloths to clean windowsills
- Ask your doctor about having a blood lead screening test
The Cattaraugus County Health Department's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program provides the following services:
- Lead poisoning prevention education.
- Lead screening for age appropriate children through referral to private physicians or directly for uninsured or under insured children.
- FREE lead testing for children ages 1 and 2 who otherwise could not afford to be tested.
- Case management to children with confirmed elevated lead levels and assess their environment to determine the source of lead contamination.
- Instruction to property owners of the methods/procedures to reduce or eliminate sources of lead poisoning.
For more information on lead testing your child or your home, please call (716) 373-8050.