October 20 through 26 is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, an opportunity to increase awareness and reduce childhood exposure to lead. 

Did you know that over 400 Vermont children have too much lead in their bodies?

Lead poisoning is a serious, but preventable health problem. Lead is a highly toxic metal that has been commonly used in many household, industrial and automobile products—such as paint, solder, batteries, brass, bullets, pottery, etc.

There is no safe level of lead in the body. Lead can harm anyone, but babies, young children and pregnant women are at special risk. A child with lead poisoning doesn’t look or act sick, but lead can cause serious health problems.

The major source of lead poisoning in Vermont children is lead dust from chipping or peeling lead-based paint, but there are many other lead hazards. Lead poisoning can be prevented when you know what danger signs and hazards to look for.  Go to https://www.healthvermont.gov/environment/children/lead-poisoning-prevention-guidance-parents for more information on how you can prevent lead poisoning. 

The only way to know if your child has been exposed to lead is to have them tested.  In Vermont, the law requires medical providers to perform a lead test on 12 month- and 24 month-old children.   If you have a little one at home, be sure your child’s medical provider performs this important test at the recommended ages.

Kelly LaMonda is the Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Chief at the Vermont Department of Health.

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