(WYTV) — For this week’s Positive Parenting, we’re talking about how to protect your kids from lead poisoning.
According to pediatricians at Akron Children’s Hospital, kids under the age of 6 are most at risk if exposed to lead.
“Family practice doctors or pediatricians really should be screening for lead poisoning in kids that are 1 years old and 2 years old,” said Dr. Joel Davidson, pedatrician at Akron Children’s Hospital.
Davidson said national guidelines recommend children get screened for lead at those ages.
“Those ages are also doing a lot of hand-to-mouth activity. They’re crawling on the ground, and they may be kind of interested in putting into it toward their mouth,” Davidson said. “That’s really the primary mode of ingestion.”
Kids who live in older homes are also more at risk of lead poisoning.
“Kids that are at high risk — or kids that live in zip codes that have a high proportion of houses that are built before 1978, or have some known exposure in their community to lead,” Davidson said.
In 1979, lead paint was banned in the United States. The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that roughly 35% of U.S. homes contain some lead-based paint. Close to 90% of homes in Youngstown were built before lead paint was banned.
Lead poisoning in kids can have life long effects.
“Exposure to lead can cause irreversible neurologic problems with focus and attention,” said Davidson. “A little bit of hyperactivity or behavior concerns executive processing, planning, thinking through a task.”
Akron Children’s Hospital offers a clinic for children who are exposed to levels of lead above the newly updated national guidelines. Those guidelines actually lowered the allowed level of lead in the blood.
“We have a team of people with neuropsychology that deals with development, social work, that deals with some of the social issues that are surrounding lead,” Davidson said.
More information can be found at Akron Children’s Hospital’s website.