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Keep Your Family LeadSafe

Childhood lead poisoning is one of the most common pediatric health problems, yet it is entirely preventable. Lead exposure can cause irreversible damage including loss of intelligence, learning disabilities and behavioral problems including aggression. The most acute poisoning can result in severe illness and death.* In adults, lead poisoning has been linked to migraines, chronic fatigue, heart disease and sexual dysfunction.

The most common sources of lead poisoning are lead-contaminated dust, peeling and chipping lead paint, contaminated soil and at-risk jobs that involve lead exposure, such as construction. Lead is found in most homes constructed prior to 1978. Eighty percent of Rhode Island homes fall into this high-risk category and likely contain lead paint.

Here are some tips to help keep your family safe from the hazards of lead:**

  • If you are renting and notice paint that is peeling in the interior of your home, especially if the building was constructed before 1978, notify your landlord, and immediately clean up any chips and dust using the “wet clean” method described below.
  • Clean “friction areas” in your home weekly. Friction areas are sections of your home such as windows, stair treads, and doors where the paint is most vulnerable to wear. Even if the paint in these areas isn’t peeling or visibly worn, it can produce lead dust.
  • Use the “wet clean” method to clean paint chips, dust and friction areas. Use a mop or sponge with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner or a lead-specific cleaning agent. Make sure to thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after cleaning dusty or dirty areas.
  • Keep children’s play areas clean, making sure to wash pacifiers, toys, stuffed animals, etc. often.
  • Wash children’s hands often, especially before eating, taking a nap or going to bed.
  • Keep children from chewing or mouthing windowsills, or other painted areas.
  • Clean or remove shoes before entering your home to prevent tracking in soil that may contain lead.
  • Prepare meals that are nutritious, low fat, and high in calcium and iron for your family. Some examples of these foods are: green leafy vegetables, meats, and dairy products. Children with healthy diets absorb less lead from the environment.

Rhode Island Housing’s line of LastingHomes loans can help you afford to live in and maintain your home for as long as you want. For more information call 401-457-1234.

*Source: 2005 Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Factbook
**Source: The Rhode Island Department of Health