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COUNTY OF MONTEREY

HEALTH DEPARTMENT

HOW DO I?


 

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Child Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

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little girl with pencil in mouth graphicstockYoung children suffer from lead poisoning more frequently because they put everything in their mouth. Chewing and sucking on things is normal for young children. They can swallow these tiny bits of lead and become lead poisoned. If there is lead where your children live or play, it can very easily get on their hands and toys.

Most children who have lead poisoning do not look or act sick. Lead poisoning can cause permanent learning and behavior problems that may make it harder to be successful in school. There is no known safe blood lead level. The only way to know if a child is lead poisoned is by doing a blood lead test.


What is Lead?

Lead is a toxic metal that has been used for thousands of years in commercial & household products.

young boy playing with carsSources of Lead

Lead has been found in:

  • Imported foods such as tamarind candy and chapulines (grasshoppers)
  • Traditional home remedies like Greta,Azarcon, or Paylooah
  • Dishes & pots made by hand, especially imported ceramics, decorated with paintings or varnish that contain lead
  • Imported toys & children’s jewelry
  • Traditional make-up like kohl and surma
  • Paint in houses built before 1978
  • Soil exposed to leaded gasoline (lead was banned from gasoline in 1995) or paint dust
  • Work places where employees do repair of radiators or batteries, recycling of batteries, welding with lead, or remodeling buildings built before 1978

young child playing doctor with her teddy bearHow is your child tested for lead?

The only way to know if your child is poisoned with lead is to do a blood test.  Ask your doctor to do a blood test to check for lead in your child. The test can be done by taking blood from the child’s finger or vein. If your child has a normal test, no followup will be needed.

What happens if your child’s test shows he/she is lead poisoned?

If your child is lead poisoned, the Monterey County Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program will contact you and schedule a home visit .

  • The Public Health Nurse will provide you with information on how to lower your child’s blood lead level.
  • The Registered Environmental Health Specialist will check your home in order to locate the source of lead.

 Simple steps you can take to protect your child

  • Wash your child’s hands often, especially before eating & sleeping.
  • Wash your child’s toys.
  • Mop floors and wet wipe window sills at least once a week.
  • Little girl playing with toy foodFeed your child regular meals rich in calcium, iron, and vitamin C.
  • Do not use imported, older, or handmade dishes or pots for food or drinks unless they have been tested and do not have lead in them.
  • Make sure that the home remedy you use is safe. Traditional home remedies such as Greta and Azarcon (bright orange, yellow, or white powders), may contain lead. 
  • If your job exposes you to lead, always use lead-safe work practices, and change out of your work clothes and shoes, and wash or shower before you come home.
  • Cover bare soil where children play.
  • Ask your doctor to order a blood lead test on your child.

For more information about lead poisoning, parents and caretakers may contact Monterey County’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 755-4704.

Learn More:

Click here to print a coloring storybook on lead-safe work