Environmental Heatlh

Environmental Health

Lead poisoning prevention

Lead poisoning can be a serious problem for young children -the younger the child, the greater the risk. Lead poisoning can occur without obvious symptoms.  Long-term effects can include learning disabilities, decreased growth, behavioral problems, hearing impairment and brain damage. At very high levels, it can cause seizures, coma and even death. If lead poisoning is caught early, these effects can be limited by reducing exposure or medical treatment.

The Lead Poisoning Prevention Program works to protect children from these effects. This program works with the DeKalb Housing Authority to provide inspections for lead-based paint in older housing developments where children may be at a greater risk of exposure. Before the harmful effects of lead were known, lead was a common additive in paint. Lead was banned from household paint in 1978. Therefore, homes built prior to 1978 are more likely to have lead-based paint.

Furthermore, our program performs investigations when a child shows elevated levels of lead in their blood. The purpose of this investigation is to identify sources of lead which could be poisoning the child. By identifying these sources, they can be removed or remediated so that further poisoning is prevented.

Tips to remember

  1. Ask your doctor about getting your child tested for lead poisoning.
  2. Clean floors, window frames, window sills, and other surfaces regularly using a wet mop or rag.
  3. Reduce the risk of lead paint.
  4. Don’t try to remove lead paint yourself.
  5. Don’t bring lead dust into your home from your work or hobby.
  6. Use cold water for drinking or cooking.
  7. Eat right and don’t store food in pottery with lead glaze.

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