Lead Paint Dangers and Concerns
Lead paint puts kids at risk. The biggest risk is to kids under the age of 7. The kids eat paint chips and inhale paint dust that floats in the air. Window sills and window wells are prime places to find lead paint chips and dust.
The United States government banned the use of lead paint in the early 1970’s. Lead paint still exists in some older homes, however. The vast majority of homes in Decatur were built before 1970, so lead paint is there.
Landlords know about the lead paint problem. Yet many do nothing. So it is up to you to protect your kids. If you rent an apartment or house, ask the Macon County Health Department to come and look at your place to see if there is a lead paint risk to your kids. Better safe than sorry.
When little kids breathe lead paint dust or eat paint chips, the lead gets into their blood stream and causes problems. Sometimes, the problems are immediate and big so you know something is wrong with your baby. Other times the problems are unseen and subtle. But the damage is being done slowly but surely.
Lead paint symptoms include vomiting, fever, restlessness, and loss of appetite. Too much lead can cause a medical emergency. But most kids get a low level of lead poisoning so its hard to detect the problems based on just symptoms. However, even low levels of lead create big problems like behavioral and emotional problems; thinking, learning, and cognitive problems.
If you think that there might be lead paint in your home, then act right away. Don’t ignore the possibility. If your child has been exposed to lead paint, get him/her tested immediately. The schools test for lead paint in children, but if your child is not of school age, don’t wait.
If you have questions about lead paint, call the Macon County Health Department at 217-423-6988 or call me and I will try to answer your questions.
William C. Faber, Jr.