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Posted in: Healthy Home Hazards
An estimated 84,000 homes in Omaha were built before 1978. Lead-based paint was not banned in the U.S. for residential use until 1978, so homes built before then have the potential to contain lead-based paint.
An amount of lead the size of 3 grains of sugar is enough to poison a child.
Lead paint that is in good condition, i.e. not chipping or peeling or cracking, is usually not harmful. However, if you have chipping lead paint, the dust from that paint can be hazardous. Lead paint can often be identified by the alligator pattern that forms when it chips.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are half a million children in the U.S. (ages 1-5) living with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter, which is the CDC action level. However, the CDC has also determined that there is NO safe level of lead in children.
Lead poisoning can harm a child’s nervous system and brain when they are still developing and cause lifelong learning problems. Higher amounts of lead exposure can damage the nervous system, kidneys, and other major organs. Lead poisoning is completely preventable.
The most common source of lead poisoning is from dust from chipping and peeling paint in older homes. Areas in the home where children are most often exposed to lead dust are window sills, window troughs, door ways and porches. Lead dust on floors from paint and soil is also a source for younger children who tend to crawl around and then out their hands in their mouths. Other sources of lead include soil, water from lead pipes and fixtures, ceramic glazes, toys and costume jewelry, keys, vinyl mini blinds, fishing weights, make-up, bullets and some imported candies and pottery.
Steps you can take to protect your family:
Keep painted surfaces clean and dust-free using a wet dusting method
Repair chipping & peeling paint using lead-safe work practices and contractors (See: The Lead-Safe Certified Guide to Renovate Right)
Wash your hands and your children’s hands often
Remove shoes before entering home
If renting, contact your landlord about chipping & peeling lead-based paint
Learn more about how you can protect your family by downloading the EPA’s “Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home”