Healthy Living: Local News
Your Health: Lead Poisoning
Story Updated: Nov 3, 2011
Old houses often have lead-based paint on their walls.
Homes built prior to 1975 didn't have to worry about federal lead paint regulations - meaning for children living in these homes today, lead poisoning is a major concern.
"The younger the child, the more danger there is because there is a lot more hand to mouth activity," said Donna Grant, supervising nurse for Jefferson County Public Health.
Kids learning to walk often pull themselves up on old window sills or they peel hanging paint chips.
Officials in Jefferson County say they are monitoring 14 cases of children with elevated lead levels - almost double previous years' numbers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate a quarter million kids are living in the U.S. with high lead levels.
The most common cause for them?
But an old car could be to blame too.
"Car engines, people that work on older cars. There used to be lead in our fuel, in our gas, so anybody that worked on a car out in their yard, it could have contaminated the soil where the children play," said Grant.
So what should you do?
Get your child's blood tested at age one and a follow up at two.
Wash your child's hands.
Seal off any potential trouble zones.
If you have lead pipes, run water 2 to 3 minutes before using.