When spring rolls around, it is the perfect time to tackle some remodeling projects. If your home was built before the 1970s, you should consider having its lead content level tested before you start chipping away at the paint.
Lead poisoning results from absorbing a high amount of lead by breathing or swallowing a substance with lead in it, such as food, dust, paint, or water, normally in small amounts over a long period of time. Children are most at risk for lead poisoning, which can create irreversible problems in their growth and development. Adults may also suffer from serious health problems, including high blood pressure and damage to the brain, nervous system, stomach and kidneys.
“Lead poisoning may not immediately present symptoms because the effects are subtle or mimic other conditions.”
Children can be exposed to lead at home or places they visit regularly. Lead-based paint, contaminated dust or soil, and toys or jewelry with high lead content made in other countries, all present dangers. Adults are often exposed to lead where they work or through hobbies such as welding or pottery making.
Signs and Symptoms
Lead poisoning may not immediately present symptoms because the effects are subtle or mimic other conditions. Symptoms in children include slightly lower intelligence and size levels than children their age who do not suffer from lead poisoning. They may also have behavioral problems such as irritability or aggressiveness, hyperactivity, learning difficulties, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Adults may also show behavioral symptoms such as irritability, mood and personality changes, changes in sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, and memory loss. High levels of lead can affect the central nervous system, causing poor coordination, weakness in hands and feet, and headaches. Severe symptoms include convulsions, paralysis, and coma.
Lead poisoning can be prevented by keeping people, especially children, out of buildings that contain lead-based paint and having the lead removed or sealed away.