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Lead Poisoning Prevention Week Runs Oct. 22 Through 28
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Lead poisoning affects all living creatures—children in particular. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 3.3 million U.S. households with children under the age of 6 have hidden lead exposure hazards. These hazards can be found both inside and outside the home and include deteriorated paint, water, and dirt, to name just a few. A “safe” blood lead level has not been established—there is growing evidence that lower levels of lead in blood may affect a child’s IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement.

“Lead poisoning is one of the most preventable environmental exposures,” said Cyrus Rangan, MD, a pediatrician and medical toxicologist with California Poison Control System. “It can cause a variety of medical problems, including learning disabilities, growth problems, and behavioral issues.”

Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is being observed Oct. 22 through Oct. 28 across the state.

Here are just a few important facts about lead poisoning:

Children are most commonly exposed to lead by ingesting paint chips or paint dust and by eating dirt that is contaminated with lead;

Loose, dry soil may lead to an increased risk of lead exposure in children who play outside in the dirt, especially on hot, dry days;

Common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures—and can affect adults as well as children;

Rangan suggests that the best ways to prevent lead poisoning in children start with good supervision, watching what they put into their mouths, making sure they wash their hands frequently, and providing a diet with appropriate amounts of iron and calcium. Children who are undernourished may absorb more lead into their bodies than children with well-balanced diets. For more information, visit

Call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 (number is the same in all states) for questions about poison encounters. Trained pharmacists, nurses and other providers are available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free, confidential and interpreters are available. Get weekly tips about safety by texting TIPS to 20121 for English or texting PUNTOS to 20121 for Spanish. Follow CPCS on Facebook and on Twitter @poisoninfo. CPCS is part of the University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy and is responsible to the California Emergency Medical Services Authority.