Facts About Lead
FACT: Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even before they are born.
FACT: Even children who seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies.
FACT: You can get lead in your body by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips containing lead.
FACT: You have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most cases, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not a hazard.
FACT: Removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the danger to your family.
Health Effects of Lead
Childhood lead poisoning remains a major environmental health problem in the United States.
People can get lead in their bodies if they:
* Put their hands or other objects covered with lead dust in their mouths.
* Eat paint chips or soil that contains lead.
* Breathe in lead dust, especially during renovations that disturb painted surfaces.
Lead is more dangerous to children because:
* Babies and young children often put their hands and other objects in their mouths. These objects can have lead dust on them.
* Children’s growing bodies absorb more lead.
* Children’s brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.
If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:
* Damage to the brain and nervous system
* Behavior and learning problems, such as hyperactivity
* Slowed growth
* Hearing problems
Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults can suffer from:
* Reproductive problems (in both men and women)
* High blood pressure and hypertension
* Nerve disorders
* Memory and concentration problems
* Muscle and joint pain