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October is National Home Indoor Air Quality & Awareness Month

Lead & Children

Developed by Healthy Indoor Air for America's Homes Program and supported by Presidential Proclamation, each week focuses on a different home indoor air topic.

Lead & Children's Health Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Home Environment Resource - University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

Healthy Homes - Indoor Air Quality

October is National Home Indoor Air Quality & Awareness Month

Lead & Children

Family Calendar - Ideas for the Week

Monday: Learn about the hazards of lead and where the risk of exposure is the greatest. Being informed about the risks is an important beginning to protecting the health of your child.

Read the information on lead provided on this web site - and visit these resources:

  • Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home. This booklet is published by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to inform families about the hazards of lead. You can get a copy on-line at: http://www.hud.gov/lea/leadhelp.html or by calling the HUD office serving your state or region (this is usually listed in the government pages in your telephone book). Every family with young children should read this book! (Available in Spanish and other languages.)
  • National Lead Information Center, 1025 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20036-5405; 800/424-LEAD [5323]; http://www.epa.gov/lead/nlic.htm. This Center operates an information hot-line for questions about lead (National Lead Information Clearinghouse), and provides many publications. Their website has a wealth of information and has links to many other organizations working on lead issues. Materials are available in Spanish.
  • Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning 227 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20002; 202/543-1147; http://www.aeclp.org. This organization provides information and publications.

Tuesday: Where does your child spend time? Your home? A childcare center or family daycare home? The home of grandparents or other relatives? School or church? Are any of these places in buildings that were built before 1978?

Ask about the age of buildings where your child spends time on a regular basis. Buildings that were constructed before about 1978 could have lead-based paint. Buildings constructed before about 1950 are likely to have lead-based paint. Talk to the owners of the buildings. Ask about lead-based paint hazards. Have the buildings been tested for lead hazards? Are painted surfaces in good repair? Is there a maintenance plan in place to reduce the hazards of lead?

Wednesday: Where can you go for help if you think your child has been exposed to lead hazards?

  • Contact your local or state health department. Some of these agencies have special programs for children at risk of lead hazards. They may also refer you to another agency.
  • Identify and locate lead inspectors or risk assessor in your area. Besides your local health department, try the “Yellow Pages” of the telephone book. Try looking under “Environmental Testing”.
  • The US Department of Housing and Urban Development maintains a National Lead Service Providers System that can assist you in finding trained professionals. Check http://www.leadlisting.org or contact your state or regional HUD office.
  • Contact you local Cooperative Extension Office (locate your local office HERE). Usually you can find this agency listed in your county government directory. Many Cooperative Extension offices can provide you with educational materials on lead hazards and may be able to refer you to local sources of further assistance.

Thursday: Has your child been exposed to lead hazards? The most likely source of exposure is time spent in a building with lead-based paint. Other sources could be old plumbing systems with lead pipes or solder, lead glazed ceramics or pottery, hobby or art supplies, soil contaminated from past use of leaded gasoline, or air pollution from industries that use lead. Children who live with someone who has lead poisoning are also considered at risk.

Many experts recommend that all children should be tested for lead exposure, even if they are not at obvious risk for lead hazards. A blood test at 12 months will screen for lead exposure. More frequent testing is recommended for children at risk.

Has your child been screened for lead exposure?

Friday: Today is Halloween and the traditional ritual of “treats” for children. This is a good day to think about how food and nutrition can affect children at risk of lead hazards. If your child is at risk, it is also a good day to review their diet.

A healthy diet can reduce the risk of lead poisoning by limiting the amount of lead that is absorbed into the body. In particular, it is important that children at risk of lead exposure eat a diet that is high in calcium and iron, and low in fat. Milk and other dairy products, dark green vegetables, and whole grains are examples of foods that are beneficial to children at risk of lead hazards – in fact, all children!

Your local Cooperative Extension office (find your Extension office here) is a good source of information on healthy diets for children. A nationally recognized web site is right here in Lancaster County, Nebraska - visit the Food Safety & Nutrition web site at http://lancaster.unl.edu/food

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