Over the years, you may have heard about reports regarding lead exposure and lead poisoning. Although lead is unsafe for everyone, unborn babies and young children are at highest risk. According to the CDC, more than 310,000 children from ages 1 to 5 are found to have unsafe levels of lead in their blood. Although lead is no longer used in paints, it remains to be the most common source of lead exposure in children.

Since the accumulation of lead is gradual, lead poisoning may be hard to detect. Many children may appear healthy, even though they may already have high levels of lead in their blood. As lead levels increase to dangerous levels over time, it may cause a variety of health problems like developmental delays, speech and language problems, decreased bone and muscle growth, poor muscle coordination, and damage to the various systems of the body. In cases when lead levels are extremely high, it can even cause seizures and unconsciousness.

It is then essential for parents to examine if a child may be exposed to sources of lead. Lead can be found in:

Soil – Although lead is no longer used in gasoline and in paints, lead particles have remained on the soil, which may still put an individual at risk for exposure.

Water – The water from old lead pipes or other fixtures soldered with lead, can release lead particles into the tap water.

Lead Paint – Lead based paints were previously used in homes, toys and furniture. Although it is already banned, many walls and woodwork in older homes or apartments may still have lead based paint on walls. Likewise, toys that are made in other countries may still contain high levels of lead.

Food – Some imported canned goods are being sealed using lead solder. Likewise, there are bowls that contain lead, due to the use of lead based paint either in glazing or in painting designs.

Traditional remedies – Home remedies like greta and azarcon, which are used to treat an upset stomach, contain lead. The FDA also found litargirio to have high levels of lead. It is used as a treatment for burns and wounds.

Traditional cosmetics – Kohl is a traditional cosmetic used as eyeliner, but it contains lead.

Other Items – Some items that contain lead may include imported crayons and candies, jewelry, sports objects and supplies used in certain hobbies.

With the many sources of lead, parents need to take steps so that exposure can be prevented. The CDC even recommends screening in children, living in areas where 27% of the houses were built before 1950, or in populations where more than 12% of children ages 1 and 2 years old, have been found to have elevated blood lead levels.

It is also important to try to eliminate lead risks at home. You may contact your local health department, so that you can have your home checked for lead sources. This is important especially if your house or apartment was built before 1978. If you suspect that you have old plumbing in your house, let cold water run from the faucet for a minute, before you use it for drinking or cooking. Likewise, do not use hot water for meals because it can contain higher levels of lead.

It is vital that you practice healthy habits at home. Practice proper hand washing, and regularly clean your home including your child’s toys. Always use a damp mop or a damp cloth in cleaning your house. You also need to make sure that your child is not exposed to lead, in the other places that he frequently visits.

Make certain that your child is getting enough iron and calcium in his diet. These are essential because it can reduce the amount of lead, which can be absorbed by the body. It is also important that children eat at regular intervals because lead is absorbed more during fasting. Although many agencies have gone great lengths in promoting awareness, parents need to take matters seriously. After all, children are entitled to a healthy home so that they can safely go through their milestones.