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Lead Poisoning Prevention

About 1 in 22 children in America have high levels of lead in their blood, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You may have lead around your building without knowing it because you can't see, taste, or smell lead. You may have lead in the dust, paint, or soil in and around your home, or in your drinking water or food. Because it does not break down naturally, lead can remain a problem until it is removed.

    

Before we knew how harmful it could be, lead was used in paint, gasoline, water pipes, and many other products. Most homes built before 1960 contain leaded paint. Some homes built as recently as 1978 may also contain lead paint. Now that we know the dangers of lead, house paint is almost lead-free, leaded gasoline has been phased out, and household plumbing is no longer made with lead materials.

   

Lead paint is sweet. Children may seek it out. Most children are exposed when they get lead dust on their toys or hands and put those items in their mouth.

    


How lead affects your child's health

The long-term effects of lead in a child can be severe. They include learning disabilities, decreased growth, hyperactivity, impaired hearing, and even brain damage. If caught early, these effects can be limited by reducing exposure to lead or by medical treatment. If you're pregnant, avoid exposing yourself to lead. Lead can pass through your body to your baby. The good news is that there are simple things you can do to help protect your family.

  

  1. Get your child tested for lead poisoning, even if he or she seems healthy.
  2. Clean floors, window frames, window sills, and other surfaces weekly. Use a mop, sponge, or paper towel with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner or a cleaner made specifically for lead.
  3. Reduce the risk of lead paint. Make sure your child is not chewing on painted surfaces.
  4. Learn about safe lead removal before working on old painted surfaces. (Take a look at this Don't Spread The Lead Do-It-Yourself Guide.)
  5. Don't bring lead dust into your home from work or hobbies.
  6. Have your water tested. If the cold water hasn't been used for more than a few hours, let it run for 15-30 seconds before drinking it or cooking with it. Don't use the hot water for drinking or cooking.
  7. Eat right.

  


Source: EPA

Lead Poisoning

and Your Children

  

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more information.


Regularly eat healthy foods

Children with empty stomachs absorb more lead than children with full stomachs. Provide your child with four to six small meals during the day. The following nutrients can help protect your child from lead poisoning:

   

Source: EPA

Fight Nutrition with a

Healthy Diet

  

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more tips and recipes.

Iron-Rich Foods

Normal levels of iron work to protect the body from the harmful effects of lead. Good sources of dietary iron include:

  • Lean red meats, fish, and chicken
  • Iron-fortified cereals
  • Dried fruits (raisins, prunes)

    

Calcium-Rich Foods

Calcium reduces lead absorption and also helps make teeth and bones strong. Good sources of dietary calcium include:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, collard greens)

  

Vitamin C-Rich Foods

Vitamin C and iron-rich foods work together to reduce lead absorption. Good sources of vitamin C include:

  • Oranges, orange juice
  • Grapefruits, grapefruit juice
  • Tomatoes, tomato juice
  • Green peppers

   

If your children are 5 years old or younger, see if you qualify for WIC.

    


For help getting the lead out of your home

The public health department is available to provide information on lead-safe home repairs and to make referrals to lead removal resources. Please call (231) 724-1259.   

     

Lead Hazard Reduction Program

If you live in Muskegon County, you may be eligible for help to make your home lead safe if:

  • You have a child under 6 years old living in or visiting the home on a regular basis;
  • You are a low to moderate income family;
  • You live in a home built before 1978; and
  • You own or rent the home.

  

Those who are eligible, receive:

  • Lead Inspection/Risk Assessment and report of findings ($500 value).
  • Lead Hazard Control Work - which may include new windows and doors and special cleaning and painting to qualified applicants.

If you'd like to find out if your home qualifies, fill out an application or call (231) 724-1259.

   

Even if you don't qualify for this program, we can help you determine what the next step is according to your situation. Please call (231) 724-1259.

  


Links for More Information

Michigan Healthy Homes & Lead Poisoning Prevention (MDCH)

Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Housing

Michigan Lead Safe Housing Registry (MDCH)

Tool Book for Initiating Effective Policy Change

Lead Poisoning Prevention Program Annual Report

    

Links for Health Care Providers

New Blood Lead Level Information (CDC)

  • The CDC now uses a reference level of 5 micrograms per deciliter to identify children with blood lead levels that are much higher than most children’s levels. The recommendation for when medical treatment is advised has not changed.

Provider Guidelines for Case Management of Elevated Blood Lead Levels (MDCH)

Recommended Follow-up for Various Blood Lead Levels

Provider Guidelines on Screening and Testing (MDCH)  

Clinician Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Portal (MDCH)

  

Links for Lead Professionals & Contractors

Lead Certification Process (MDCH)

Lead Training Course Schedule (MDCH)

Locate Accredited Renovation Training Programs (EPA)