The 2019 National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week will be taking place from October 20th – 26th. In preparation for this week, Walden encourages you to review the following information on the topic and consider providing information and preventative measures to your employees and customers.
Why is lead an issue?
Lead causes health issues when absorbed into the body by inhalation or ingestion. High exposure to lead causes damage to the brain, kidneys, and can interfere with production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body. When exposed, children may suffer neurological and intelligence deficits, stunted growth, anemia, and in rare cases, seizures, coma and death. For a pregnant woman and her fetus, problems can include high blood pressure, premature birth, reduced fetus growth, and miscarriage. Young children and pregnant women are most at risk for lead poisoning, but adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure are also more at risk than healthy adults.
Where is it found?
Lead can be found in household items, such as toys and furniture, but the most common sources are lead-based paint and drinking water pipes and plumbing fixtures. Hazardous lead-based paint, which was banned from use in 1978, can still be present in older homes. Paint chips and dust can contaminate the air and soil around a property. In regard to lead in household water, lead-containing piping and plumbing fixtures were also commonly used in older homes. During water distribution, if water chemistry isn’t carefully monitored, lead can leach out of the piping and fixtures into household drinking water, as occurred in Flint, Michigan.
These are some helpful talking points for you, your staff, and customers to prevent lead poisoning:
- For houses older than 1978 or if lead- based pant is suspected, hired a USEPA certified lead inspector to test your home.
- Use a wet cloth or rag to remove the dust in your home, especially in window wells and sills.
- Keep children away from playing in soils surrounding older buildings or near roadways.
- Wash the hands of children often to rinse off dust or dirt that could contain lead.
- Only use cold water for drinking and cooking. Warm water is more likely to have higher levels of lead.
- For drinking and cooking water use, flush your system beforehand by running the tap, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry.
This information can be relayed to staff, residents, and customers with:
- Flyers for posting in your office or public spaces
- Brochures or pamphlets
- Written notice on water bills
- Utility bill stuffers
- Public service announcement
- Social media posts
Check out Walden’s previous blog on How to Protect your Family from Lead Based Paint. Walden works on ways to help you keep your employees, customers and other visitors safe and healthy. Walden can assist you with your education and outreach efforts for these important topics or conduct the assessments and investigations that will help to maintain the confidence in your systems and products. If you would like more information on this topic or other public health concerns, please contact Walden today.