High levels of lead in the body can cause problems with the brain, kidneys, and bone marrow (the soft tissue inside bones). Symptoms of high lead levels can include belly pain, headaches, vomiting, confusion, muscle weakness, seizures, hair loss, and anemia (a low red blood cell count).
Lower levels of lead in the body can also cause problems, such as trouble paying attention, behavior problems, learning difficulties, and a fall in the IQ of young children. IQ stands for “intelligence quotient” and measures a person’s intelligence.
If you live in a house or an apartment building built before 1978, ask your doctor about blood lead testing for your child and keep your child away from peeling paint. Peeling paint needs to be removed from all surfaces up to 5 feet above the floor. It is also a good idea to repaint the rooms to seal in the lead paint.
If you’re remodeling an old home, seal off the rooms that are being worked on. For example, put heavy sheets of plastic over doorways and windows of the work area.
If there’s a problem with lead poisoning in the area where you live, or if a lot of older houses in your neighborhood are being remodeled, have your family wipe their feet and take their shoes off before they come into your home. This will lower the chance of tracking soil with lead in it into your home.
Wash your child’s hands and face before meals.