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Get the Lead Out

Lead poisoning still a risk for kids

(HealthDay) -- Close to 1 million children in the United States still have high levels of lead in their blood, reports this MSNBC article. Elevated lead levels put these youngsters at risk for neurological damage and lower IQs. Even just mildly elevated levels can lower a child's reading and math scores, the article says.

Most lead exposure today comes from the paint in older homes. According to the article, as much as 3 million tons of lead may still be hanging on American walls. Lead also has been used heavily in many different industries and still can be found in water pipes, ceramics and boat paint.

Your child may be at risk for lead poisoning if you:

  • Live in a home built before 1978, when lead paint was commonly used;
  • Live near heavily used roads;
  • Have lead pipes or faucets;
  • Use pots or pans that contain lead;
  • Participate in hobbies such as antique refinishing or jewelry making;
  • Burn candles with lead wicks in your home.

Screening is not routine anymore, so if you suspect your child may have been exposed to a lot of lead, you'll have to request a lead test yourself. offers these tips on preventing lead poisoning as well as this lead poisoning safety checklist.

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