Terribly harmful! Lead poisoning is terribly harmful to everyone, especially unborn babies and children.
Your children Have your children been exposed to lead?
Talk to your children’s doctor If your children are between 6 months old and 6 years old, ask your doctor about a lead test for your children. Your doctor will ask you questions and tell you if your children need to be tested. The best way to know if your children have been exposed to lead is to have their blood tested.
On public insurance programs? Children on public insurance programs should be tested at age 1 and age 2.
On Medicare? Medicare requires children who are enrolled to get tested for lead at ages 12 months and 24 months of age. If Medicare has no record of your children being tested, and they are between the ages of 24 months and 6 years, Medicare will require them to receive their lead test.
If you don’t have a medical provider (doctor) If you don’t have a doctor, you can make an appointment for your children to be examined by COACH for Kids nurses. COACH for Kids has vans that are just like a doctor’s office. Staff often park their vans near WIC offices.
COACH for Kids Nurses on board a COACH for Kids mobile clinic test children’s blood for lead during well child visits when a child is 1 year old and 2 years old. They also test the blood of children as old as 6 years if the children’s blood has not been tested already. Learn more about making an appointment with COACH for Kids. Click here!
Why is testing important? If tests show there is lead in your children’s blood, there are steps you can take.
Where is the lead? Try to find out where the lead comes from. Lead can be found in many places.
Homes Lead-based paints were banned in 1978. But If your home was built before 1978, it probably contains lead-based paint. When the paint peels and cracks, it makes lead dust. Children can be exposed to lead when they swallow or breathe lead dust.
Near airports If you live near an airport, your children may be exposed to lead in the air and in soil that comes from aviation gas.
Other places Lead can also be found in:
• certain water pipes
• certain products, such as toys and jewelry
• some candies
• certain home remedies
• air and soil near airports
A few hobbies Your hobby may involve working with lead-based products. This could be a problem. For example, if you enjoy working with stained glass, you may be bringing lead into your home.
Some jobs Your job may also involve working with lead.
Difficult! Some ways of keeping children safe are difficult to do. For example, it may be expensive to test a home for lead. If your job involves lead, it may be difficult to change jobs. But there are some helpful things you can do.
A few steps to keep your children safe Here are a few things you can do:
• Find out if your hobby involves lead. If it does, change hobbies.
• Find out if your job involves lead. If it does, you may want to talk with your supervisor to see if anything can be done.
• Run water from the faucet until it becomes cold.
• When you cook, start with cold water.
• If you feed your baby formula, use cold water.
• Serve your children foods with calcium, iron, and vitamin C. These may help protect them.
• Don’t allow your children to eat candies, spices, and other foods that travelers have brought into the country.
• Store food properly.
• Learn which dishes may have lead in them.
• If you rent your home, you may want to talk with your landlord about testing for lead.
Read Well Fed Means Less Lead This WIC handout will tell you about foods that can help your children.
Read this helpful guide to making your home safe from lead and healthy for children. This guide was published by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Read about preventing lead poisoning. This information was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).