Houses built before 1978 probably have lead paint in them. If lead paint is present in a home, it is better to leave it alone. Removing lead paint can produce large quantities of dust contaminated with lead. If lead paint is removed, it should only be done by a professional lead abatement contractor. Clermont County Public Health does not regulate lead, and cannot require the removal of lead paint.
Covering lead paint with a non-lead paint is an alternative to removal. Lead paint that is already covered by a non-lead paint will present no health hazard if it is undamaged. Damaged lead paint may be covered with a coating of non-lead paint. Chips from damaged lead paint should be removed, and disposed of in the trash.
Dust from lead paint can be created by raising and lowering sliding windows. Dust from lead paint should be removed with a damp cloth or a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Vacuuming dust from lead paint using an ordinary vacuum cleaner will disperse lead contaminated dust into the air.
Other sources of lead in the home include candles with lead wicks, lead plumbing, and hobbies which involve soldering. A home can be contaminated with lead from outside sources such as contaminated soil, or job-related activities.
Children, under the age of six, are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over a period of months or years. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems. At very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.
The most common cause of lead poisoning in children is from exposure to lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust which are often found in buildings constructed prior to 1978. Other sources of lead poisoning include contaminated air, water, soil, and even some toys and cosmetics. Although lead is still found widely in the environment, you can take a number of steps to help protect yourself and your family.
Have your child tested for lead if lead poisoning is suspected. Clermont County Public Health provides information and guidance to families of children with elevated lead levels.
When a referral concerning a child with elevated lead blood level (EBL) is received by the Health District, the family is contacted by phone and/or mail. Assistance, including a home visit, is offered to the family. Education concerning the cause and effects of elevated lead levels, the importance of eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a clean environment will be provided to the family.
Clermont County Public Health will collaborate with the child’s health care provider and other community agencies to reduce the level of lead in the child’s blood.