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Aggressive efforts to prevent lead exposure in children is working, although continued efforts to keep the lead out of paint, water and soil is continuing. New government research announced in March 2009 shows that just 1.4 percent of young children had elevated lead levels in their blood in 2004 (the latest data available) compared with almost 9 percent in 1988.

A child's exposure to lead can interfere with the developing nervous system and cause permanent problems with learning, memory and behavior.

There is no exposure level considered safe, and lead poisoning is entirely preventable, which is why lead hazards in a child's environment must be identified and controlled or safely removed.

Tips for preventing lead exposure The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following tips for preventing lead exposure in children.
  • Pregnant women and young children should avoid housing built before 1978 that is undergoing renovation. This includes being around any type of activity that disturbs old paint, including the clean-up afterward.
  • Do not allow young kids to play in bare soil. Bare soil should be covered with grass, mulch or wood chips if possible.
  • Routinely wash children's hands and toys to minimize the risk of lead contamination. Keep current with any lead recall lists and dispose of any recalled toys, jewelry or clothing items.
  • Keep kids in a clean home environment. Because dust is a major source of lead, parents should wet-mop floors and wet-wipe horizontal surfaces after few weeks. Windowsills and wells can also contain high levels of dust.

  • Avoid giving kids candy from Mexico, which has been found to have lead contamination.
  • Use cold water from the faucet for drinking, cooking and making formula. Hot water from the tap generally contains higher lead levels from plumbing that cold water.
  • Child care providers should share their lead prevention efforts with parents. If a family provider or daycare operator doesn't offer information about their health and safety efforts concerning the prevention of lead contamination, parents should make a point to ask, and then to be satisfied with the responses given.

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