Our client California Poison Control System has new warnings for consumers as we observe National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. The concern and need for increased awareness stems from the fact that lead can be found in a variety of products available to children. According to Dr. Richard Geller, Medical Director for the CPCS site at Children’s Hospital Central California:
Lead poisoning is an important cause of learning disabilities, anemia, as well as growth problems, and children exposed to lead may have attention and aggression problems.
Dr. Geller said ways to prevent lead poisoning in children include having them wash their hands frequently, washing their toys often and providing a diet high in iron and calcium. Children who are undernourished can absorb more lead into their bodies than children with well balanced diets. Here are ten tips from Dr. Geller that help prevent lead poisoning:
- Make sure your children do not chew on painted surfaces, such as toys or window sills.
- Report chipped or cracked paint to your landlord if you live in an older home built before 1978.
- Cover paint that is peeling or chipping with duct tape until it can be removed. Frequent floor dust removal in older homes with lead paint is important.
- Ask your pediatrician about lead testing for your young children even if they seem healthy.
- Some children’s necklaces and bracelets, adult watches, as well as religious jewelry from Mexico, have been found to contain lead.
- Keys frequently have small amounts of lead in them – do not let babies play with or teethe on your keychain.
- Run the faucet for a few minutes before using cold water for cooking, drinking or preparing infant formula (this can help flush out the lead which can build up in sitting water), especially if the cold water hasn’t been used in the past two hours.
- Avoid eating foods that are canned outside the United States.
- Traces of lead have been found in some candy and its packaging imported from Mexico containing chili or tamarind.
- Folk medicines (especially home remedies) imported from another country also contain lead. These include: pay-loo-ah (fever and rash treatment); azarcon (also called Maria Luisa, Liga, Alarzon, Greta, Coral and Rueda); Asian folk remedies, including Ghasard, Bali Goli and Kandu; and Middle Eastern folk remedies, including farouk and bint al zahab.
Consumer lead testing kits can be found at most hardware stores and may be of use in detecting lead in the home. For more free poison and safety tips, text the word TIPS or PUNTOS for Spanish to 69866. Call California Poison Control System at 1-800-222-1222 for more information on lead poisoning. Trained certified pharmacists, nurses and poison information providers to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Stay informed and follow California Poison Control System on Twitter @poisoninfo.
You can also help spread the word by downloading and posting this flyer.