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posted on October 21, 2013 10:31

NEWS RELEASE--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        Date: Oct. 21, 2013

Contact:  Niki Forbing-Orr
Public Information Officer
(208) 334-0693

Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future
National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is Oct. 20-26  

This week is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, and the theme is, "Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future." It underscores the importance of testing your children and your home for lead, as well as learning how to prevent and treat lead poisoning’s serious health effects. 

In children, lead poisoning is a serious health issue which can lead to learning disabilities, lowered IQ, hyperactivity, aggressive behavior, speech delay, and hearing impairment. The good news is that lead poisoning is preventable and treatable.

The most common way lead gets in the body is in dust from lead-based paints that have deteriorated. Lead-based paint was used in more than 38 million homes until it was banned for residential use in 1978.  In Idaho, more than half (62%) of homes were built before 1978 and could have lead-based paint.  The older the home, the more likely it is to have lead-based paint.  

If you live in an older home with peeling or chipping paint, have recently remodeled an older home, live near or recreate near a lead smelter or mine site, or suspect exposure to other sources of lead (including in toys, pottery, lead sinkers, reloading bullets), talk to your doctor about a simple blood lead test for your child. 

Children younger than 6 are at the highest risk for lead poisoning. It is best to test them when they are 1 or 2 years old. Idaho’s Medicaid program and most health insurance plans cover lead testing.  

Families who live in homes built before 1978 also should consider the following: 

  • Have a lead inspection and/or risk assessment conducted by an EPA-certified firm to determine whether there is lead paint present and what actions you need to take to protect your child.
  • Hire remodelers and/or painters who are EPA-certified for lead-safe work.
  • Damp mop floors, damp-wipe surfaces, and frequently wash a child’s hands, pacifiers and toys to minimize exposure to lead.
  • Keep children from chewing on window sills or other painted surfaces.
  • Clean up paint chips immediately both inside and outside the house.
  • Ensure your children have a diet high in iron and calcium. Diets high in iron and calcium help prevent lead from being absorbed into a child’s body.
    For more information, please call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD or visit