September 2018

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Health Capsule

Prevent Lead Exposure

Lead is toxic. No amount is safe. The more you have in your body, the worse its effects.

Lead is a metal found in nature. It can get into your body in many ways. You might breathe, drink, or eat things that have lead.

In the US, lead used to be added to gasoline and paint. Homes built before 1978 may still have lead paint. When the paint peels and cracks, it makes lead dust you may breathe in or small children may eat.

Older homes can also have lead in the pipes. It can end up in your drinking water.

Be careful about using lead-glazed pottery and porcelain for food or drinks. Sometimes lead leaches out.

Lead can also be found in some painted toys. Kids put toys and their hands into their mouths. And small children are at most risk of lead poisoning.

Lead is linked to a lower IQ score, learning challenges, and behavior problems in kids. A high level of lead is also linked to delayed puberty and hearing problems.

In adults, a high level of lead is linked to high blood pressure and tremor. It also can cause kidney, heart, and nerve problems.

If you’re concerned about lead, your local health department can tell you how to test for lead in your home. Learn more about lead.