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Dangers of Lead and Steps to Minimize Exposure

Lead is a naturally occurring element found in small amounts in the air, water, and soil. It can be toxic to humans and animals causing many health effects. Lead is particularly dangerous to children because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. Babies and young children are at higher risk of consuming lead because they frequently touch and put items that could potentially contain lead in their mouths. Children may also be exposed to lead by eating and drinking food or water containing lead or from dishes or glasses that contain lead, inhaling lead dust from lead-based paint or lead-contaminated soil, or from playing with toys with lead paint. A pregnant woman’s exposure to lead from these sources is of particular concern because it can result in exposure to her developing baby. Lead and lead compounds have been used in a wide variety of products found in and around our homes, including soil, paint, ceramics, pipes and plumbing materials, gasoline, batteries, ammunition, and cosmetics

If your home was built before 1978 it may be at higher risk of having lead-based paint and pipes. You can minimize lead exposure by avoiding have children in areas that are undergoing home renovations that can create lead dust or chipping of lead paint. 

Shoes should be wiped on a mat or removed before a person enters, especially if someone works in an occupation where lead is used. Assuring proper nutrition. Children who have an adequate intake of iron, calcium, and vitamin C rich foods seem to have less risk of absorption of lead. Check home for recalled toys and toy jewelry with potential lead at The US Consumer Product Safety Commission website Call the City of Omaha Lead Information Office at (402) 731-3045 or the Douglas County Health Department Lead Poisoning Prevention Program 402-444-7825 if you have questions about possible lead exposure in your center.

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