Lead poisoning is preventable

Dear Editor:
Childhood lead poisoning is considered one of the most preventable diseases among young children yet thousands of children living in the United States have elevated blood lead levels that may cause significant damage to their health.
National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week raises awareness of the serious health consequences of lead poisoning. The effects can be extremely harmful for young children (ages 6 and under) and developing fetuses. Too much lead in one’s body (lead poisoning) may lead to a number of conditions such as learning and developmental disabilities, decreased growth, hyperactivity, impaired hearing and brain damage. Lead can pass from mother to unborn child. Pregnant women must take the necessary precautions to reduce their exposure to lead.
The NJ Poison Experts remind you that lead poisoning is preventable. Major sources of lead exposure include lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust (especially dust from renovating or repairs) and soil from deteriorating homes/buildings built before 1978. In addition, lead may be found in items such as candy, make up, pottery and folk medicine made in other countries.
Reducing your family’s exposure to lead is the best way to prevent its harmful effects. Below are some simple ways to prevent exposure:
1. Test your home for lead if you have young children or pregnant women in your household. Remember to also do this when purchasing an older home (built before 1978).
2. Test your child for lead poisoning. Even if young children seem healthy, ask your doctor to test them anyway. Health professionals recommend lead screening for children ages 1 and 2.
3. Learn how to prevent lead poisoning. The NJ Poison Experts are available 24/7/365 in the event that you or a loved one is exposed to lead or have questions/concerns regarding lead poisoning. Call 1-800-222-1222 for free, expert advice.
Do not take chances by waiting until symptoms. If an exposure occurs, it’s good to know help is just a phone call away. If someone is unconscious, not breathing, seizing/convulsing, bleeding profusely, difficult to arouse/wake up, etc. call 911 immediately, otherwise call the NJ Poison Experts at (1-800-222-1222).

The New Jersey Poison Information and Education System and
Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

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