What is Lead?
- Lead is a metal that can be found in old paint and contaminated dust.
- Lead can cause damage to the kidneys, the nervous system, and the brain.
- Lead is especially damaging to the development of children, both before birth and when they are young.
- It is very difficult to know if your child is exposed to lead. The only way to know if your child has been poisoned is if your doctor does a blood test. Your child should have the test when he or she is 1 and 2 years old.
Lead poisoning in children is caused by:
- Children eating contaminated paint chips, and sucking or chewing on window frames, furniture, or toys that contain lead.
- Children crawling on floors with dust that contains lead.
- Children eating candies and snacks from Mexico that contain lead.
Where is Lead found?
- Lead can be found in your house if it was:
- Built before 1978 when lead was used in paint. Even a little chip of old paint can poison your child.
- Lead can also be found in foods:
- Lead can be found in foods that come from Mexico like: candies and “Chapulines”
a Mexican snack of grasshoppers
- Lead can also be found in clay pots from Mexico. Serving food in these pots
can put lead in the food.
- Lead can be found in homemade treatments like greta or azarcón.
- Avoid cooking, eating, or storing food in pots, jars, jugs, or pitchers made of clay. If you are unsure if they contain lead you can buy a tester from the hardware store.
- Avoid candies and snacks that may contain lead, such Vero Mango, Chaca- Chaca, Pelon Pelon Rico, and Pica Limon.
What can I do to protect my family?
- Keep your house clean:
- Use a mop, sponge or towel with warm water to clean your home (especially floors and windowsills.
- Wash your child’s toys.
- Wash your child’s hands often.
- Take your shoes off before coming inside your house.
- If the paint on your house is peeling or you are thinking of remodeling:
- Call a state certified lead inspector. For a list of inspectors call 1(888)424-5323.
- Also, you can follow the directions from the EPA brochure: “Reducing the risk of lead poisoning.”
- To get a brochure call the National Lead Information Center at 1(800)424-5323.
- Diet can help protect you against harm from Lead Exposure:
- Good nutrition, especially eating enough iron and calcium, is important to protect against the damaging effects of lead.
- Foods rich in iron include:
- Red meat
- Dairy products and green leafy vegetables
- Iron enriched cereals and grains
- Dried Fruits
For more information:
- National Lead information center 1(800)424-LEAD
- California Poison Action Line 1(800)222-1222 – anytime, any place in California
- Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs (CLPPP): (510)620-5600
- CLPPP in Monterey County: (831)755-4704
- Environmental Protection Agency website about Lead: www.epa.gov/lead