Most often when we hear the words lead poisioning and children we instantly think of lead-based paints in older homes as being the main sourse.Even though lead-based paint was banned in 1978, it is still a problem in 25 percent of U.S. homes with kids under the age of 6.
However, lead from a difference source is now believed to be responsible for about 30 percent of all childhood lead poisoning cases: Kids, toys and jewelry.
A recent study showed that over 3 million toys, mostly manufactured in China, were recalled during a 14-month period due to having excessive amounts of lead.
Lead poisoning in children can result in learning disabilities, behavior difficulties, speech delays, hearing loss, ADHD, and aggression. To make matters worse, children with lead poisoning often don’t show any early apparent symptoms.
As parents, what can you do to help protect your kids?
- Discard all brightly painted toys that come from Pacific Rim countries, particularly China, especially if the paint is peeling or chipped or if the toy fits in the child’s mouth.
- Keep a close eye on toy recalls announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and sign up for e-mail alerts from the CPSC about future recalls.
- Discard ceramic or pottery toys not made in the U.S.
- Take all metal jewelry from your children. If there is something you that absolutely need to keep, have it tested for lead.
- Purchase only crayons that are soy-based.
If you are worried about possible lead poisoning in your children, you can have them screened with a blood lead level test that is quick and inexpensive. It is recommended that all children under the age of 6 be tested annually. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program [CLPPP]. For more information on the CLPPP, you can call (304)558-5388 or (800) 642-8522 (toll free in WV).