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Lead poisoning

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Updated: 4/18/2007 7:11 am
Children under six are every susceptible to lead (led) poisoning. Lead can be found throughout the environment: from plumbing pipes or deteriorating paint in the soil, or in paint dust generated during a home or daycare center's renovation. Children living in older houses are at the highest risk, but older schools and daycare centers may pose hazards, too. Before 1978, lead paint was commonly used in homes and businesses, and before 1950, almost all paint had lead content. Without professional testing, there are no tell-tale signs of lead being present in an area. The lead can be safely disposed of only by a licensed professional. The federal government has established the standard of allowable lead levels, but removal standards are regulated by state laws, and lead decontaminate professionals are licensed by state agencies. Have you noticed symptoms of lead poisoning? These symptoms can include a stomachache, poor appetite, and irritability, and can be confused with other common childhood illnesses. If you're in doubt about the origin of your child's illness, contact a doctor. The only way to detect lead poisoning is through a blood test. Lead poisoning can result in slow development, reduced intelligence quotient, or 'I-Q,' learning disabilities, hearing loss, hyperactivity, and reduced height. If a child experiences prolonged exposure, he or she can suffer from a coma, convulsions, or even death.

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