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  • Protecting Children from Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning is a hidden danger for families with young children. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an estimated 38 million housing units in the United States had lead-based paint between 1998 and 2000. More than half had significant lead hazards.

Lead is toxic for all ages, but is especially harmful to young children. When they are exposed to high levels of lead, they can suffer permanent health and brain damage. According to HUD, one out of every nine American children has too much lead in their bodies. Lead-based paint hazards in older housing are a common source of lead poisoning for children.

In 1978, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ruled that only trace amounts of lead could be contained in paint. If your home was built before 1978, your family may be at greater risk from lead poisoning. Use the following tips to help protect against lead poisoning:

  • Ask your doctor about testing children age six or younger for lead. Sometimes these simple blood tests are provided at no cost at local health centers and clinics. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends lead testing of all children at the one- and two-year health supervision visits.

  • If you rent an older home or apartment, be sure to tell the building owner if you notice peeling paint and paint chips. You can also report peeling or chipping paint to your local public health department.

  • If your home has high levels of lead, you may need to have certain repairs made to keep your family safe.

  • HUD offers information on testing and special renovations on its Healthy Homes Web site. Visit the web site

  • You should not try to remove lead-based paint yourself.

  • You cannot identify lead by looking at paint yourself. Whether you rent or own your home, consider having your home professionally tested for the presence of lead.

  • Always supervise children closely. Do not permit them to play with, hold or chew pieces of paint that may chip or peel away from the walls.

  • Do not permit children to play in or near buildings that are condemned or under repair or renovation. In addition to other hazards, lead can be present in the soil and dust around these sites.

  • Wash children's hands frequently; always before they eat.

 

  • Kitchen Poison Safety

Food, drinks and household cleaners are found in kitchens across the country - yet surprisingly Home Safety Council research shows that over half of families keep cleaners and chemicals in unlocked places. The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) reports than 92 percent of all poison exposures occur in the home every year. To help reduce the risk to your family, adopt the following safety guidelines to handle and store poisons at home:

  • Store all products in their original containers and in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.

  • Never transfer poisonous or caustic products to drinking glasses, pop bottles, or other food containers, which could be mistaken and the contents consumed.

  • Homes with young children should have child locks installed on cabinets. Lock up all pesticides, cleaning products and other chemicals, all medications and medical supplies, and all other poisonous, toxic or caustic products.

  • Purchase medications with child-resistant caps and make sure all dangerous products in the cabinets have child-resistant caps, including cleaning products and chemicals.

  • Read the use and storage directions before using products. Original labels on product containers often give important first-aid information.

  • When using harsh products follow safety recommendations, such as wearing gloves and masks. Do not mix products together because their contents could react together with dangerous results.

  • Promptly put away products after use and wipe up spills immediately.

  • If you purchase cleaning products or household chemicals that are packaged with labeling that includes images of food (for example citrus fruit in some cleaners), or that are packaged in containers that look similar to beverage bottles, be aware of the risk of these containers being mistaken for edible food products and ingested.

  • Avoid purchasing cleaning products or household chemicals that are packaged with labeling that includes images of food (for example citrus fruit in some cleaners) or in containers that look similar to beverage bottles. These can easily be mistaken and the contents consumed.

  • Store all harmful products away from food to avoid mistaken consumption.

  • If you purchase cleaning products or household chemicals that are packaged with labeling that includes images of food (for example citrus fruit in some cleaners), or that are packaged in containers that look similar to beverage bottles, be aware of the risk of these containers being mistaken for edible food products and ingested.

  • Post the poison control hotline (1-800-222-1222) and other emergency numbers near every phone.

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