Tips from Get the Lead Out! Program
Prevention Tip #1: Monitor Hand to Mouth Behaviors
One way to ensure that lead is not ingested by children is to monitor their hand to mouth behaviors. Most children (before the age of three) frequently try to put anything they see in their mouths; this behavior could be a route to lead poisoning. The hand-mouth behavior of children should be diverted or stopped to ensure that no lead contaminated toys, imported pottery, paint or other items get into their systems.
Prevention Tip #2: Frequent Washing of Hands and Toys
One way to ensure that lead is not ingested by children is to encourage frequent washing of their hands and toys. Most children (before the age of six) have their hands in everything including dirt from the outside which could be contaminated with leaded particles of paint. Paint in older homes, built before 1978, could possibly be chipping or flaking off onto outside soil or inside window ledges and floors. If children wash their hands frequently and their toys are cleaned on a regular basis there is less risk of lead paint particles being ingested through the mouth.
Prevention Tip #3: Glazed Pottery
One way to ensure that Lead is not ingested by children; is to be diligent about what type of pottery you use to cook and serve food in. Frequently pottery coming across from the border, in particular Mexico has been found to leach lead into food. Some of the pottery imported into the United States is being created without using hot enough ovens (a process that encourages usability) to seal the glaze, which is the elements that are contaminating food. We are experiencing high incidences of children being poisoned from food that has been stored and or cooked in this pottery. We have found that some of the pottery that is being imported has been stamped Lead Free is not always correct. Please be aware of the type of pottery you are using if have a question whether it contains lead you may contact our office.
Prevention Tip #4: Lead Poisoning is still an issue among our youth younger then age six and in particular Pima County. One of the best ways to prevent lead getting into the body is to frequently wash all areas that could be hazards. If you live in a home/apartment that is older than 1978 and in ill repair than your family may be at risk. Please frequently wash floors, toys and widow sills that might be exposed to deteriorating lead based paint.
For more information contact; Laurie Riker Finkle at Our Family Services, Phone number 520-327-4583 ext. 234. Thank you.
Get the Lead Out! is a new, federally funded program that provides education to health care, social service providers and community leaders in the community regarding the sources of lead poisoning in children and the need for testing.
Left untreated, lead poisoning can lead to permanent disability and brain damage. While the state-funded health care program, AHCCCS, recommends that all children should be tested for lead poisoning, only about 4% of eligible children are currently being tested.
Our goal is to increase awareness around the issue of lead poisoning and to increase the rate of testing for at-risk children. We also hope to address common misconceptions regarding lead poisoning, including that lead-based paint in older homes is the most likely source. In fact, glazes in some Mexican-made pottery, candy from Mexico, Folk remedies and groundwater contamination from discarded items like computer monitors, and lead in objects such as keys and jewelry that small children are likely to put in their mouths are all potential risks for lead poisoning.
Get the Lead Out! Provides free education to community providers, and works with the Arizona Department of Health Services to monitor levels of testing in vulnerable children.