PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM
New data has shown that no amount of lead in the blood is safe- so the State of Indiana wants Hoosiers to know more and understand the effects of lead exposure, testing regulations and more on how to prevent it.
WHERE IS LEAD FOUND?
Lead is a toxic heavy metal that can be found throughout a child's environment. Historically, it has been used in a wide variety of products, including gasoline, paint, plumbing pipes, ceramics, solders, batteries, and even cosmetics.
The biggest risk of lead exposure in Indiana occurs through lead- based paint. Homes built before 1980, which make up 57 percent of Indiana's housing, probably contain lead-based paint. When the paint peels and cracks, it makes lead dust. Children can be exposed to lead when they swallow or breathe in lead dust.
Lead can also be found in certain water pipes, in soil near some industrial sites, in some toys and jewelry, and certain jobs and hobbies that involve working with lead-based products.
WHY IS IT A PROBLEM?
Exposure to lead can seriously harm a child's health. Children age 6 and younger are especially vulnerable because their bodies use the toxic lead in brain and bone development. Young children also touch surfaces adults don't and tend to put their hands or other objects into their mouths. This is why the most common source of lead exposure in young children is lead dust that they swallow.
Effects of lead exposure can include:
- Damage to the brain and nervous system, including lower IQ
- Slowed growth and development
- Learning and behavior problems, including decreased ability to pay attention and underperformance in schools
- Hearing and speech problems
WHAT CAN I DO TO PROTECT MY CHILD?
Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, House Enrolled Act 1313 requires that all Indiana healthcare providers determine whether children age 6 and younger have been tested for lead poisoning and to offer the screening. Testing is recommended at a child’s 1- and 2-year check-ups but can be done at any time if a child aged 3-6 hasn’t been previously tested. Talk to your healthcare provider today about getting your child tested!