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At these levels, there's no treatment for the child other than to end the ongoing exposure -- clean up the house, Newman stressed. That's why prevention is so important. And while the youngest children are the most vulnerable, lead's not good for anyone's brain, so he advises taking common-sense precautions before potential exposures like renovating an old home.
What should families do? Here's advice from the Environmental Protection Agency and public health agencies:
Check the age of your house. At checkups for babies through age 5, pediatricians are supposed to ask if you live in a home built before 1960, or one built before 1978 that's recently undergone renovation. The answers help guide who may need a blood test to check lead levels. Some states require testing of toddlers on Medicaid.
Wash kids' hands before they eat, good advice no matter where you live or how old your house.
Clean up paint chips immediately, and regularly wash toys that tots put in their mouths.
Regularly wash windowsills and floors where paint dust can collect.
If you're planning repairs or renovation in an old building, use lead-certified contractors who must follow EPA rules to minimize exposure from the work and can perform quality tests to see if your old paint really contains lead.
If you rent and have peeling paint, notify your landlord. Many cities and states have lead-abatement rules, and programs to contact for help.
Aside from paint, take off shoes at the door, to minimize tracking in lead-tainted soil.
Use only cold water for drinking, cooking and making baby formula, and run it for 15 to 30 seconds. Hot tap water can pick up more lead from older plumbing than cold water.
EPA lead information:
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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